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KING'S BAYNARD 



KING'S BAYNARD. 



BY 



THE HON. MRS. GEORGE GIFEORD. 



1 Mine honour is my life j both grow in one ; 
Take honour from me, and my life is done : 
Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try; 
In that I live, and for that I will die."— shakspeabe. 



IN THEEE VOLUMES. 
VOL. I. 



LONDON: 

HURST AND BLACKETT, PUBLISHERS, 

SUCCESSORS TO HENRY COLBURN, 

13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET. 

1866. 

The right of Translation is reserved. 



G3C 



THIS WORK 



.3. 



is 

WITH HIS KIND PERMISSION 



CO 

DEDICATED TO 



JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE, ESQ. 



\ BY 

on 

THE AUTHOR. 



5 






4 



CHAPTER I. 

" Hath not thy rose a canker, Somerset ?" 

KING HENRY VI. ACT 1. 

KING'S BAYNARD itself had once 
been a royal chase, as the name 
implies, and had been a personal gift from 
his sovereign to the first baronet of that 
name, as an acknowledgment of services 
rendered, and of certain moneys advanced 
by him when the royal exchequers were 
at a low ebb. 

The Hall, or Manor House, was a vast, 
rambling pile of building, more interesting 
from its air of antiquity, and as a witness 
to the great wealth of the succeeding 
generations of Baynards, who had lived 

VOL. I. B 



Z KING S BAYNAET). 

in it, than from any particular architectural 
beauty that it possessed. 

It had been added to at various times, and 
notwithstanding the somewhat melancholy 
grandeur with which, as an empty and, as 
report said, a haunted house, it impressed a 
lively imagination, it was a residence much 
to be coveted by any true lover of field 
sports, or of the noble science of woodcraft, 
in which the old race of Baynards had prided 
themselves on being peculiarly well skilled. 

They had indeed every temptation to 
become experts in a country which has 
been thus described by an old chronicler, 
as " a land of orchards and corn-fields, 
a land of hop-yards and meads, a land of 
stately oaks and over-arching elms, a 
land watered by streams famous for trout 
and grayling," for in the very heart of 
this delectable land stood the Hall, which 
was again surrounded by eight miles of 
Park, whose tangled thickets and wood- 



king's baynakd. 



crowned uplands had once been the 
favourite haunt of the " antlered monarch 
of the chase." 

Before describing the locality too accu- 
rately, I must apprise the reader that, as 
this history contains so much that has 
hitherto been private in the family, whose 
representatives are still living, it will 
be more courteous, as well as more expe- 
dient, to substitute fictitious names for 
the " Shire" in which it stands, and for the 
towns and places of note in the immediate 
neighbourhood ; and to give him no better 
standpoint for the critical comparison of 
dates than the one with which he was 
long ago familiar — the child-honoured 
" once upon a time." 

The legends attached to the old place, 
and to the ancient and peculiar race from 
whom it had descended in an unbroken 
line from generation to generation, would 
even now kindle the heart of the anti- 

b 2 



king's baynabd. 



quary, or of one curious on the subject of 
what might be called " type-lore." In old 
times, the Baynards had been celebrated 
for their hospitalities, and for their adher- 
ence to the Eoyal House of Stuart ; and rol- 
licking Cavaliers would ride hard and long 
to assemble and hold revel within the old 
Hall, which in still later days had afforded 
timely shelter to the head of a persecuted 
king. 

All its surroundings seemed to speak 
of past splendour, and of the exercise of 
a cultivated taste, although, at the time at 
which this tale commences, desolation and 
decay had begun to make melancholy in- 
roads upon every sign of the wealth and 
care once lavished with a free hand upon 
beautiful King's Baynard. 

The terraced walks and gardens on one 
side of the house, and the acres of velvet 
turf which spread away to the Park boun- 
daries on the other, had been the work of 



king's baynaed. 



a beautiful Lady Baynard who lived in 
the time of Charles the Second, and who 
was removed from the court of the "merrie 
monarch,' ' by her husband, Sir Ralph, 
sorely against her own inclination — for 
she was, as her biographer tells us, 
" town-bred, and used to the society of 
nobles and the manners of courts." 

But, like a wise woman, in the course of 
time she accommodated herself to her 
husband's more rural tastes ; and as a 
reward for her obedience became so much 
attached to King's Baynard that she could 
not do too much for its adornment, in 
laying out the gardens and grounds accor- 
ding to her own admirable fancy. 

Amongst the bevy of dames and 
maidens whose pictures adorned the 
family gallery, from the pencils of Holbein, 
Dobson, Yandyck, Lely, and other painters 
of equal fashion, but less fame, the fairest 
was that of Amabel, Lady Baynard, who 



king's baynard. 



smile d graciously down on the beholder, 
affording a striking contrast to the scornful 
scowl of her successor, the termagant Joan. 

The last-named lady brought vast 
wealth to her husband, half witted Sir 
Marmaduke ; but with it she brought the 
fierce temper and the bitter tongue which 
had called down a curse upon the Bay- 
nards and their inheritance, that had for 
many generations eaten like a canker into 
the very roots of the family tree. 

" A curse upon the children of the mad- 
woman and the fool/* had been the 
malediction uttered by an old crone (or 
witch, as she was then styled) as Joan, 
Lady Baynard, struck at her with her 
riding wand, after having narrowly es- 
caped trampling her under the hoofs of 
the fiery horse, whose temper she loved to 
madden into impotent rivalry with her 
own. 

The echo of that curse was never out 



KING S BAYNAED. 7 

of the proud woman's ears, until she 
yielded her imperious soul at the bidding 
of the Ano'el of Death. From that time 
the sun of the family fortunes declined ; 
as regarded, at least, the unblemished 
honour and fair name of the representa- 
tives of the ancient house. Their wealth 
did not diminish ; but the richly- stored cof- 
fers, which the dowers of two heiresses had 
filled to overflowing, brought no blessing 
with them to the curse-blighted pair. 

The two last possessors of King's Bay- 
nard had been absentees from their patri- 
archal home, which, at the time the tale 
commences, was inhabited by the young 
heir, who had been sent thither by his 
father, Sir Marmaduke, upon the comple- 
tion of his school and college career, to take 
his place in the county, and to attach him- 
self to his inheritance while he was still 
young. At least these were the reasons 
which the Baronet gave to his son, upon 



8 king's baynakd. 

making him aware of his wishes on the sub- 
ject, and whether the latter believed in them 
or not, he was so well satisfied with the 
results, as to be willing to obey them in 
every particular. 

He occupied but a very small share of 
the old house. The library and a bedcham- 
ber beyond it, on the first floor, had been 
the rooms prepared for him by Mrs. Grim- 
stone, the housekeeper ; a lady whose will 
was despotic, and who had so long reigned 
and ruled at King's Baynard, the monarch 
of all she surveyed, that the young heir 
himself good-naturedly determined not to 
depose her, as far as the management of 
the internal economy of the old Hall was 
concerned. 

The West wing, which contained what 
were called the " state apartments," inclu- 
ding the saloon, picture-gallery, and music- 
room, was shut up, as far as the public, or 
even Mr. Baynard himself, were concerned. 



king's baynard. 



Mrs. Grimstone and her niece Susan, a 
housemaid, occupied one room in it, to 
show themselves superior to the fears 
openly acknowledged by the rest of the 
establishment on the score of the Baynard 
Ghost that was supposed to frequent 
these apartments ; a belief which was 
rather encouraged by the old lady herself, 
who acknowledged more than once to 
having encountered it during her self-im- 
posed occupation of the " Haunted Wing." 
It was the ghost of a lady dressed in 
green, who was supposed to wander up 
and down the long corridors, and through 
the vast dim rooms, consecrated to the 
relics of a faded past ; and it was be- 
lieved to be the shade of a Lady Baynard 
who had been, like Joan, a richly- dowered 
bride, but who, unlike her, had been pos- 
sessed of a meekly-cowering temperament, 
inviting ill-treatment at the hands of her 
husband, the bully Sir Mark. 



10 king's baynard. 

This last but one of the " wicked 
baronets," was the grandfather of the 
hero of this tale. He had inherited the 
temper of his termagant ancestress, and 
his wild career had been brought to an 
untimely end, in consequence of a crime 
committed in a moment of ungovernable 
passion, in which he had shot down a man 
like a dog, whom he had discovered snaring 
a hare on the Baynard estate. The affair 
getting wind, although by means of heavy 
bribes he managed to evade the hands of 
justice, he was obliged to take refuge on 
foreign soil, from the Nemesis of univer- 
sal hate which his evil deeds had brought 
upon him on his own. 

His wife had died some months before 
the crowning villainy took place. She was 
a gentle harmless woman, plain and faded, 
with a great partiality for green silk robes 
and little spaniel lap-dogs. Before the birth 
of her first and only son, her husband had, 



king's baynakd. 11 

in a playful mood, flung one of these canine 
favourites into a cauldron of soup that 
was boiling for his hounds ; and the cries 
of the tortured animal had such an effect 
upon the lady, that with more than the 
usual portion of pain and danger, she 
gave a sickly, puling heir to the ancient 
House of Baynard. 

The terrible baronet was so far conci- 
liated by this act of hers, that he refrained 
from any personal violence towards his 
sick wife, for some months, when she 
slipped out of his hands altogether and 
quietly departed this troublesome life. 

It was, perhaps, as a trifling compensa- 
tion, for the forbearance so long exercised 
that Sir Mark had soon afterwards dyed 
his hands in the blood of the wretched hind, 
on account of whose murder, in spite of 
bribes and hush money, he had been forced 
to fly the country. He carried his infant 
son abroad with him, whose early years 



12 king's baynabd. 

were spent among such scenes of vice and 
depravity, that, as might be surmised, he 
grew up a worthy successor of his father, 
the wicked Sir Mark. 

Upon the death of the latter, which 
took place about the time that his son 
attained his majority, the young Sir Mar- 
maduke returned to the home of his 
ancestors, and took up his residence at 
King's Baynard. Reared, however, as 
he had been in the enervating atmos- 
phere of a depraved foreign court, the 
quiet routine of country life became 
insupportably monotonous. He was no 
sportsman, and the gaming-table was 
the only field on which this degener- 
ate specimen of the old Baynard stock 
cared to distinguish himself. Gambling, 
drinking, and carousing by day as well 
as by night, Sir Marmaduke and his 
friends, town-bred dandies (or bucks, 
as they were then called,) ignored the 



king's baynaeb. 13 

nobler pleasures of the field and chase, 
while the only occupants of the stable, 
were the eight long-tailed coach-horses, 
who dragged their master, in alternate 
relays of four, from King's Baynard to 
town, and from town back to King's 
Baynard. 

"I'd like t' see t' strawberry roan again 
I ood," old Peter the groom used to 
remark on such occasions, when the four 
sleek, fat brutes were being yoked to the 
family coach; and of this strawberry 
roan's savage temper and daring feats in 
the field he would wax eloquent, when 
under the influence of cyder, or, as he 
familiarly called it, " drink." 

Mr. Trevylian the rector of the parish, 
had likewise good reason to remember, if 
not to regret, as old Peter did, the 
" strawberry roan ;" for to him he was 
indebted for the possession of a living 
worth twelve hundred a year and up- 



14 king's baynakd. 

wards — the Baynard living ; and the best 
preferment, as far as emolnment went, in 
the whole county. 

He was a parson of the old stamp, now 
almost extinct; coined of a system of 
private patronage and pluralism; of the 
system of forcing thoughtless young men 
into a profession for which they were 
unfitted, that they might occupy the warm 
nests which Providence seemed to have 
lined so comfortably as a portion and 
provision for the younger sons of the 
great ones of the earth. No Baynard, 
however, had as yet been found willing 
to submit to the trammels of parsonic 
purity of life and manners, even as 
it existed in those days ; and the living 
had been presented to Mr. Trevylian, 
by the baronet of wife-beating and 
hind- slaying notoriety, under the follow- 
ing somewhat peculiar circumstances. 

Sir Mark, mounted on his powerful 



king's baynaed. 15 

strawberry roan, a horse as renowned for 
his savage temper as for his unexampled 
prowess in the field, had gallantly held his 
own in one of the longest runs that the 
Derefordshire hounds (famous for their 
strength, and what was then considered 
great speed) had ever known. Excited 
by the brilliant sport, and disregarding 
the dangerous temper of the roan horse 
in cramming him at a stiff fence, Sir Mark 
buried his spurs, for the first time, deep 
into his heaving flanks. It was all over 
then — the roan swerved suddenly and vio- 
lently aside, refusing the fence, and fling- 
ing his rider heavily to the ground. This, 
however, was the most harmless part of 
the proceedings ; for turning upon the 
prostrate form of his master, the furious 
animal prepared to pay off old scores, and 
to revenge himself for the indignity to 
which his stained flanks bore bleeding 
witness ; and with ears close to his head 



16 king's baynakd. 

and his formidable mouth open, he rushed 
at Sir Mark with the ferocity and deadly 
purpose of a wild beast. 

As the baronet lay powerless, with 
his right shoulder dislocated, he believed 
himself to be at the mercy of an animal 
which a long course of ill-treatment had 
made a relentless foe ; when, to his great 
relief, the butt of a heavy silver-headed 
hunting-whip, wielded by a slight but 
powerful arm, fell at the right moment 
between the savage animal's ears, laid 
back on his head, and effectually stunned 
and disabled him. 

" Gad, if it isn't young Trevylian, the 
parson !" said Sir Mark, getting up and 
shaking himself. " That was a good 
stroke of business, and I promise you 
that you shall be none the worse for 
it." 

Thus it was that, through the agency 
of the strawberry roan, Mr. Trevylian 



17 

had become, in due time, rector of King's 
Baynard, and the envied possessor of the 
rich preferment for which many more 
patrician divines had sighed in vain. 

At the period at which this tale begins, 
he was a man of some fourscore years, 
and had seen almost as many vicissitudes 
as the members of the family upon whom 
the shadow of the curse had fallen so 
relentlessly, and so long. 

After a bachelorhood of extreme gaiety, 
in which hunting, shooting, dancing, and 
carousing formed pleasing interludes, be- 
tween the labours of Sunday and the up- 
hill task of sermon- writing, the youug 
rector married a wife, a pretty, blooming 
girl of eighteen, the daughter of Sir 
Mark's principal tenant, with a handsome 
portion of her own, and the additional 
advantage of being regarded with favour- 
able eyes by the mighty wife-beating 
potentate himself. 

vol. i. o 



18 king's baynard. 

For some years this young couple had 
remained childless, and not until some 
time after the birth of the heir, and flight 
of the branded Sir Mark into foreign 
lands, did Mrs. Trevylian present her hus- 
band with a little fair pearl of a daughter, 
whose marvellous grace and beauty, from 
her most tender years, were the talk and 
admiration of the whole rustic population 
of King's Baynard. 

Poor little Mabel's bringing up was 
not calculated to foster the finer qualities 
which nature had bestowed upon her 
with an open hand. Spoilt in her cradle, 
and doubly and more fatally spoilt in her 
budding womanhood, her impetuous and" 
domineering temper became the bane of 
her indulgent parents ; and they trembled 
with anxiety for the fate of their child, 
when the power of the master-passion 
should agitate the ardent nature like a 
leaf at the mercy of the storm. 



king's baynard. 19 

That time, alas ! came all too soon. Sir 
Marmaduke, in liis flying visits to King's 
Baynard, had been in the habit of bring- 
ing with him a handsome foreign-looking 
youth, whose ostensible occupation was 
that of copying some of the fine specimens 
of the old masters which the picture- 
gallery contained ; and when his master 
had left the place for good, as he eventually 
did, the young man returned to the Hall 
under the same pretext, but in reality 
attracted by the beauty of Mabel, whose 
portrait he had obtained permission to 
take. 

He made better use of his ready tongue, 
and of his roving black eyes, than of his 
pencil, however, in this case, for before 
long he had persuaded the proud little 
beauty, who was a universal coquette, to 
leave her happy home and indulgent 
parents, to fly with him to a foreign 
land. 

c 2 



20 king's baynard. 

It was a bold stroke, for she was a 
beauty, a spoilt child, and an heiress, the 
only child of the amply-dowered mother, 
and of the rector of the rich Baynard 
living. But she was wilful and wayward, 
like many an heiress and many a beauty 
before her ; and, setting aside all consi- 
derations of rank, wealth, and position, 
she broke the hearts of her parents by 
the crowning act of degradation, that 
of eloping with a man called by the com- 
mon people the " painter lad," who had 
come so inopportunely to the Hall at 
King's Baynard. 

It was the old story — stolen interviews, 
bitter tears shed in private, and wild 
reckless spirits assumed in public to de- 
ceive those whose every hope and interest 
were centred and bound up in her own — 
ending in flight, misery, and in what was 
the most cruel thing of all, in deep and 
irremediable disgrace. The sun of the 



king's baynaed. 21 

rector of King's Baynard seemed fated, 
indeed, like that of his patron, to set in 
darkness and gloom. In the bent figure 
and feeble gait of the aged man, few would 
have recognised the wiry and athletic 
frame of the youth who had made such 
good use of his personal strength at the 
time when that strength was in its height 
and prime. 

It was some time before this affliction 
had come to the rectory, that the Hall had 
been deserted by its possessor, Sir Mar- 
maduke. This Parisian petit maitre, 
perfumed and mincing, like Harry Percy's 
fop, had declined to fight a young fire- 
eating squire in the neighbourhood, who 
had challenged him on account of some 
gambling transaction, in which it was 
said that the baronet did not come out 
with clean hands. Upon this decided 
manifestation of the cur (as it was con- 
sidered in those days), the county gave 



22 king's baynard. 

the cold shoulder to Sir Marmaduke ; and 
Sir Marmaduke, sick of the place, and 
pining for the foreign atmosphere in 
which he had flourished so long, turned 
his back upon the county and fled. 

Rumours of him reached King's Bay- 
nard from time to time. In the enjoy- 
ment of vast wealth, which he was too 
prudent a gambler recklessly to dissipate, 
he had a sort of reputation as one of the 
dilettanti of that day ; and also, a less 
enviable one, as one of the most notorious 
libertines of that lax and profligate age. 
That there had been a Lady Baynard, 
young, beautiful and unfortunate, rumour 
had also affirmed with every one of her 
hundred tongues. 

The question, indeed, of " who was 
Lady Baynard," was one that had had 
its nine days' run in the neighbourhood, 
and many conjectures had been formed 
with regard to the antecedents, and even 



king's batnard. 23 

the maiden name, of this mythical person- 
age. The subject, however, ceased to 
be discussed, as the names and doings 
of the Baynards fell into deserved oblivion, 
and the old Hall remained unoccupied 
year after year, presenting a melancholy 
monument to the crimes and vices of its 
last possessors. When, however in due 
course of time King's Baynard's young 
heir appeared upon the stage, sent over 
to take possession of the home of his 
ancestors, the question naturally re- 
vived, but apparently, without any 
greater chance of solution than in the 
first instance. 

It was a goodly inheritance, that of 
which young: John Baynard found himself 
the absolute monarch, on the day when 
he set foot on it for the first time. The 
timber on the escate alone, was worth a 
king's ransom — for with a latent feeling 
of that family pride which had been a 



24 king's baynard. 

passion in each true-born Baynard, the 
roue Sir Marmaduke had, amidst his most 
reckless extravagance, left untouched 
every relic of former grandeur appertain- 
ing to the Baynard property. 

" Not a stick has been touched, Mr. 
John," said the grey-haired keeper, baring 
his head reverentially in the presence of 
the heir, whom he, in common with all 
the retainers, called " Mr. John," in- 
stead of "Mr. Baynard." Was there a 
feeling amongst them that the old house 
would rise from its ashes with undimin- 
ished splendour under the auspices of a 
name hitherto foreign to the family 
tree ? To those who gazed npon his 
manly presence, broad noble brow, and 
deep-set grey eye, that looked as if no 
dishonour could lurk within its depths, — 
the thought was a natural one ; and the 
youth himself felt his heart beat with a 
new sensation of pleasure, in the posses- 



king's baynaed. 25 

sion of the home which he had been 
brought up to consider as the centre of 
boredom and the head-quarters of 
ennui. 

His first morning at King's Baynard 
dissipated the feelings of gloom which 
had attended his arrival the evening 
before. In the dim and dusky twilight, 
sights and sounds had presented them- 
selves, which lost none of their depressing 
influence by being presented to an imag- 
ination already feverish and overwrought. 
An idiot face had loomed at him from the 
lodge gate; the mastiffs (dogs of the 
famous Baynard breed, of giant strength 
and sinew) had bayed at him from the 
court-yard ; and the indescribable odour 
of an unoccupied house had fallen like 
the odour of death itself upon senses 
keenly alive to its melancholy meaning. 

" I have only to make acquaintance 
with the ghost," he thought, " to have 



26 king's baynaed. 

purchased the freedom of this gloomy 
Castle of Otranto." 

But the bright beams of an English 
September morning dispelled these dreary 
reflections, like the morning dew. As 
he saw spread before him a panoramic 
view of many-hued woods, of richly- 
watered dales, of purple distance, and of 
golden foreground, King's Baynard pre- 
sented charms to him not to be eclipsed 
he thought by the fairest and widest 
hereditary domain which this country, 
rich in such, can boast. His love for his 
patrimony, from that time, amounted 
to a passion in his breast. His genial, 
happy temper, and essentially manly tastes, 
made him in a few months the idol of the 
neighbourhood ; and he took a pride in 
publishing his love for his beautiful mis- 
tress, and in blazing forth her praises, 
with a boyish bonhomie, at which not 
even the greatest stickler for his own 



king's baynaed. 27 

family precedence could have found it in 
his heart to take offence. 

" He's a fine fellow ! a noble fellow !" 
the country squirearchy pronounced ; as 
in the exuberance of health and spirits, 
he presided at the breakfasts at the 
Baynard meets. " He's one of the right 
sort at last." 

And it would, indeed, have been hard 
to believe that his frank, joyous tem- 
perament, and honest manly nature, con- 
tained any of the seeds which had borne 
such bitter fruit, in the last two instances, 
of the owners of curse-blighted King's 
Baynard. 

There was, however, a latent spark in 
"young John's" deep set grey eye, which 
like a danger signal, warned those who 
offended him that they were on forbidden 
ground. Any allusion to his father, Sir 
Marmaduke, never failed to produce a 
quicker succession of these sparks than was 



28 king's baynard. 

altogether pleasant for the heedless ques- 
tioner to become conscious of; and there 
was more mystery surrounding the young 
man's antecedents than appeared at first 
compatible with his light-hearted courtesy 
and genial simplicity of manner. 



29 



CHAPTER II. 

" In the very May morn of his youth, 
Rife for exploits, and mighty enterprises." 

IT will be as well, here, to explain the 
circumstances under which the young 
heir of King's Baynard came, as described 
in the last chapter, to take possession of 
the Hall, and to be allowed to reign and 
rule sole monarch of the patrimony which 
he would hereafter inherit from an un- 
broken line of powerful ancestors. 

It was not, indeed, from any over- 
weening affection or indulgence on the 
part of his father, Sir Marmaduke, that 
he had thus made his son the repre- 
sentative of the family which he himself 



30 king's baynakd. 

had only lived to disgrace. There was 
little friendship on either side, and, the 
school and college career of the heir 
being over, the affectionate father was 
glad to get rid of the son, on the easy 
terms of a handsome allowance, and the 
implied condition of residence at King's 
Baynard. 

The fulfilment of the agreement to the 
strict letter of the law, turned out greatly 
to the satisfaction of both parties con- 
cerned. 

Had "young John" been commanded 
to become an inmate of his father's foreign 
home, or a participator in his habits and 
pursuits, it is more than probable that 
obedience, on his part, would not have 
been so unhesitatingly rendered. The 
natures of the two men were as opposite 
as the poles. Sir Marmaduke was an 
infidel libertine of the old school, a finished 
gentleman amongst the dandies, or bucks 



king's baynaed. 31 

of the Georgian era, a very questionable 
character amongst the men of the next. 
Sir Marmacluke was one who, in consi- 
deration of his grey hairs, no man in his 
heart could honour : his son one, who in 
spite of his beardless youth, no man in his 
heart could despise. 

A rapid sketch of the character of the 
former, as belonging to a type now 
happily extinct, will not be out of place 
here. 

Essentially artificial, neither the smile 
on his lip nor the frown on his brow, 
betrayed the current which stirred the 
depths of his nature. The word heart, 
would be misapplied when used as typical 
of the deeper emotions of the soul, for, 
in that sense, at least, Sir Marmacluke 
was heartless. False at the core, the only 
honest attribute which he possessed, was 
the way in which he openly scoffed at the 
promptings of conscience in natures, more 



32 king's baynard. 

honourable than his own. He was so 
unblushingly bad, that, as is sometimes 
the case, he was feared in some instances 
by better men, for he had wit enough to 
steep in gall the shafts of his ready 
tongue, and to give colour to the Vol- 
taireism under which he smothered the 
hydra-headed monster which was to him 
in the place of conscience, for Sir Marma- 
duke and his monster were not exactly 
on the terms of courteous indifference, 
which his well- assumed infidelity wonld 
have led even those best acquainted with 
him to suppose. 

There was a question with regard to 
the first Lady Baynard, young John's 
mother, abont which, at all times, that 
better part of the reprobate baronet was 
pertinaciously clamorous. Bnt on this 
delicate subject it was not likely that any 
stranger wonld intrude any unwelcome 
question or remark ; and with regard to 



KING'S BAYNARD. 33 

every circumstance respecting his early 
marriage his second wife was as ignorant, 
and as expediently silent, as the rest of the 
world. His skeleton — if he had one — 
had never as yet been discovered by the 
Fatima who called him " Lord." 

Carlo tta, Lady Baynard, was a beau- 
tiful Italian, who had shared the baronet's 
home for some years before she had 
assumed the right to sign herself by his 
ancient name. Some months before the 
birth of her child, she had rushed into his 
presence with dishevelled hair and stream- 
ing eyes, and had played her part so well, 
that he had agreed to make her Lady 
Baynard according to the rites of the Ro- 
mish church, in time to legitimatise the 
babe, who was thus, in the eyes of the 
law, spared the bitter inheritance of 
shame which would otherwise have fallen 
to his lot. Sir Marmaduke had always 
entertained an aversion for his eldest son, 

VOL. I. D 



34 king's baynard. 

which he was at no pains to conceal ; but 
upon the little Marmaduke, the latest 
born, the child of his unvenerable age, 
he lavished as much paternal love as he was 
capable of feeling. He was pleased to see 
the mother, like a beautiful tigress, fondle 
the infant, which she also loved with the 
fervour of her passionate southern blood. 

The child had been born on the same 
day that John Baynard entered upon 
possession of the Hall ; but so little com- 
munication passed between the father and 
the son, that months had elapsed before the 
latter knew that his domestic circle, 
formerly so limited, now included a step- 
mother and an infant brother. 

The fact was first announced to him by 
the family solicitor, Mr. Dale, whose 
younger and more active partner, Mr. 
Nathaniel Lines, had been abroad to 
transact business with Sir Marmaduke, 
a duty which had become irksome to his 



king's baynard. 35 

senior, owing to the increasing infirmities 
of age, and to the ill-concealed dislike 
with which, of late years, both himself 
and his advice had been received by the 
formidable Baronet. 

" Is it possible that you are unaware, 
Mr, John," he said (for he too adopted 
the peculiarity of calling the young heir 
" Mr. John"), that there is now a Lady 
Baynard, and that she has presented your 
father with a son, whom they have chris- 
tened, Marmaduke?" 

As the shrewd country practitioner 
said these words, according to a common 
habit, he took off his spectacles, to look 
the young heir attentively in the face. 
He laid a stress upon the name of the infant, 
as though he would thereby have con- 
veyed some meaning to his elder brother, 
that he did not wish to clothe in more parti- 
cular language. " They have christened him 
Marmaduke" he said, and after keenly 

d 2 



36 king's baynakd. 



reconnoitring a countenance which told no 
tales, added, with a raven-like croak, 
" the family name." 

" He is welcome to it," was the laconic 
reply ; and the lawyer, perceiving that the 
subject was an unwelcome one, resumed 
his spectacles and his search for some 
document which was not forthcoming, 
and which was necessary for the transac- 
tion of business, then in hand, known 
only to Sir Marmaduke and the attorney. 

The arrival of Mr. Baynard at the long 
forsaken home of his ancestors, created a 
nine days' wonder in the village and neigh- 
bourhood ; and amongst the primitive popu- 
lation of the former, great speculation was 
rife as to his appearance, or non-appearance, 
in the family pew on the following Sunday. 
The wicked Sir Mark himself had been 
in the habit of attending church occasion- 
ally, between the intervals of wife-beating 
and drunken revelry at the Hall. He 



king's baynard. 37 

knew nothing of Voltaire, and considered 
it a necessary mark of respect to the 
parson, for whom, in his rough way, 
he possessed a sort of attachment. 

The parson, on his side, had been 
known to omit from his discourse, on such 
Sundays, any particular form of denuncia- 
tion which might have borne unkindly 
upon any little private weakness, or 
idiosyncracy, of his worthy patron. On 
one such occasion, indeed, he had 
been driven to the rash expedient of 
extempore declamation, by the unex- 
pected appearance of the iron-grey head 
of the " wicked man" in the manor pew, 
one unlucky Sunday morning, when the 
parson had prepared a sermon (lying 
in his pocket, into which it seemed to 
burn a hole) which treated, in language 
unusually plain for the rector of King's 
Baynard, of the evil practice of swear- 
ing. 



38 king's baynatcd. 

Now as every sentence which fell from 
the lips of the baronet was garnished and 
interlarded with an oath, the young 
divine could not muster courage to preach 
so personal a sermon, or to thunder down 
his anathemas upon the reprobate head 
beneath him ; so he plunged instead into 
an extempore harangue, and, as he after- 
wards ruefully expressed it, made such 
a mistake at his first fence, that he was 
thrown out for good, and had no 
more idea which way " hounds were run- 
ning," or, in other words, of following the 
thread of his broken and uneven discourse, 
than a child a month old. 

" Gad," said the Baronet, as he covered 
his head at the church door, " I could not 
have believed the fellow would have made 
such a fool of himself." This flattering 
remark lost none of its point by being 
addressed to pretty Mrs. Trevylian, who 
was still aglow with the shame which her 



king's baynard. 39 

husband's signal failure had called into 
her cheeks. 

It was a curious system, the church 
patronage of those days ; especially 
when, as in this instance, the greater part 
of the tithe was derived from the baronial 
revenues. How could the parson strike 
the hand that clothed and fed him ? How 
could the patron be supposed willingly to 
supply the means for planting in his own 
side a perpetual thorn ? 

The time for such patron-worship, how- 
ever, and servile submission to the wishes 
of the great man, had long been over for 
the aged rector of King's Baynard. The 
errors and failings of his youth had been 
those of thoughtlessness, more than of pre- 
meditated wrong. The hoofs of his strong 
hackney were as often heard on errands of 
mercy and love, as those of his hunter had 
once been on the field, which he had 
loved so well, and where his prowess had 



40 king's baynard. 

served him in such good stead. The poor 
had ever idolized Mr. Trevylian and his 
wife, and since the death of the latter 
he had devoted himself to their interests 
with an enduring zeal, which was one of 
the finest attributes of this rector of a by- 
gone day. 

Mr. Trevylian had heard of the arrival 
of the heir at the family seat with 
an unusual degree of interest; and he 
had immediately despatched a letter to 
the Hall, containing an affectionate word 
of welcome, and a request that Mr. Baynard 
would not fail to set an example to his 
tenants and dependants, by appearing in 
his place at church on the following Sunday. 

Upon that auspicious occasion, every 
eye, indeed, turned eagerly in the direc- 
tion of the high- walled pew, which would 
completely have immured and hidden 
from sight any one who could not boast 
the average stature of man. John Bay- 



king's baynard. 41 

nard was slightly but powerfully built; 
and from that circumstance was often con- 
sidered to be taller than he actually was. 
At the same time, he was not one of 
the giants of popular modern fiction; 
and those among the King's Baynard popu- 
lation who were old enough to remem- 
ber his grand-father (his own father had 
never been known to pass the threshold 
of the church porch) declared that the new 
heir was " shorter by a head than the 
wicked Sir Mark." 

" He's a foine lad though, a foine lad," 
the old men said, shaking their heads as 
if they contained the concentrated essence 
of the wisdom of all the sages that ever 
lived ; but so would they have pro- 
nounced, had the young man been a far 
less worthy inheritor of the noble phy- 
sical development of the old Baynard 
stock. 

Great was the astonishment of the 



42 king's baynard. 

better educated part of the overflowing 
rural congregation, when at the conclu- 
sion of the prayers read by the curate, 
who constantly officiated, owing to the 
age and increasing infirmity of the rector, 
the old man himself appeared from the 
vestry, arrayed in cassock and gown, and 
evidently preparing, with the aid of his 
stick, and the arm of the clerk, almost 
equally infirm, to ascend the pulpit steps. 
His venerable appearance and fine apos- 
tolic-looking head were, in themselves, 
remarkable ; and the attention of Mr. 
Baynard was at once attracted. It was 
Paul preaching before Felix ; and there was 
no lack either of fluency or of fervency, 
in the second extempore sermon which 
the rector of King's Baynard attempted 
in the presence of the great man of the 
Hall. His sight had long been failing; 
and he held no manuscript or note-book 
on that important occasion, from which 



king's bayxakd. 43 

to read the lesson he appeared to have so 
nearly at heart. 

Those who had known him of old, and 
who remembered the charge of sycophancy 
to the reigning powers which had then 
been brought, not without some cause, 
against him, were astonished at the out- 
spoken honesty of his address ; and at 
the marked manner with which, towards 
the close of it, he turned towards the 
manor pew, and addressed himself almost 
personally to its single occupant. 

His text had been singularly chosen. It 
was, " The glory is departed from Israel ; 
for the ark of God is taken," and as he 
warmed into eloquence, while he dwelt on 
the mournful meaning of the words, he 
went on to say, in accents mellowed by 
age, and to which his white hair and 
venerable figure, added patriarchal dig- 
nity. 

" And so, my brethren, shall all earthly 



44 king's baynard. 

glory depart, even as the glory of nations, 
and of houses has vanished like a morn- 
ing cloud. As surely, indeed, as that the 
sun which now shines upon us shall set 
in darkness to-night, so surely shall the 
sun of all earthly glory set ere long in an 
enduring and palpable gloom. From the 
majesty of the intellect, from the graces 
of the person, from the sunlight which 
is the happiness of the soul, shall the 
pride, the 'glory,' as it is well called 
here, most certainly, either sooner or 
later depart, and the ark of God be taken. 
" The glory of which the text treats, ' the 
glory of a people, or of a house,' is that parti- 
cular form of pride, which is, perhaps, the 
most deeply rooted of all in the breast of err- 
ing and fallible man. The glory, not of one 
particular individual, but of the whole ; the 
house of which he is but as a single stone 
in a lordly structure, deriving honour 
from, rather than imparting it, to the 



king's baynard. 45 

the building, which claims the admira- 
tion of all who behold it. And there is 
not one amongst us, however humble 
his station may be, who has not some 
sort of notion with regard to what gives, 
and to what takes away, the glory of a 
noble house. 

" Honour — worldly honour — is a word 
that we all understand. It means some- 
thing unsullied, something bright, some- 
thing immutable, something great. It 
is the word of a man ; it is the chastity 
of a woman. It is the pearl of great 
price, which gold cannot purchase. It is 
the boast of the members of those great 
houses, that are spoken of as having 
an existence apart, to hand down intact 
from father to son, an heir-loom of ines- 
timable worth. Honour, as we account 
it in a worldly sense, treads closely upon 
the heels of godliness; but it does not 
of necessity savour of the divine element, 



46 king's batnard. 

without which ' no man can see the Lord.' 
A godly man must, it is true, be an ho- 
nourable man ; but an honourable man — as 
the world accounts honour — need not, of 
necessity, be a godly man. 

" I stand before you this day, my 
brethren, to remind you of the noble 
inheritance in store for the sons of God ; 
of the unfading glory of the house of which 
He invites you to become members — 
that house not built with hands ; that 
inheritance eternal in the heavens, from 
which the glory shall never depart ; from 
which the ark can never be taken. ' Choose 
ye then this day whom ye will serve;' and 
you, to whom honour and an unsullied 
name upon earth are as the breath of 
heaven, as the fountain of life itself, lay 
fast hold of the heirship of that glory 
which fadeth not — of that honour which 
shines brightly as the sun at noon day, 
which appertaineth to the children of God." 



king's baynard. 47 

Young John Baynard, although little 
given to the appreciation of sermons 
generally, was struck by the earnestness 
of the one preached before him in his 
parish church on that day, and he felt 
an almost filial reverence for the grey 
head of the ancient rector, who had 
roused himself to this unwonted exertion 
on his account, and in his anxiety for the 
welfare of his hitherto uncared-for soul. 
His religious training had been but a 
name, and of that dry and sapless kind 
of which boys at school have often such 
bitter experience, and from which many 
an ardent spirit has turned in weary dis- 
gust, not recognising in the truths so 
urged, food for the aspirations of the 
divine element within, towards the never- 
ending and mysterious life that is hid with 
« Christ in God." 

" Young John" was a noble specimen of 
manhood, a perfect nature, as far as 



48 king's baynard. 

nature went ; but the glory to which the 
preacher had alluded was to him nothing 
more than an image in a classical fable, 
than the conventional language of the 
particular school to which the preacher, 
as a man of erudition, belonged. 

When I say, however, that he was not 
of a religious tone of mind, as far as the 
spirit of religion was concerned, I do not 
mean to hint that he was a doubter of any 
of the living truths which religion preaches 
and instils. On the contrary, he could 
not have doubted, because the existence 
of doubt betrays the presence of thought, 
and hitherto he had bestowed no thought 
upon the subject at all. 

The colour had risen to his brow, 
and the danger-signal alluded to had 
sparkled in his eyes, at more than one 
passage in the sermon of which the 
concluding sentences have been quoted 
above. They had told home, and in so 



king's baynard. 49 

doim* had fulfilled the intention of the 
preacher. Jn the deeply secluded life 
which Mr. Trevylian had led, he had 
never entirely lost sight of the heir — that 
is, figuratively speaking — for he had fol- 
lowed with mental gaze the outlines of 
his career, both at school and college ; 
and had even carried his interest so far, 
as to have communicated from time to 
time, with those on whom the task of 
his early education had devolved. 

The accounts he had received from 
such sources had been satisfactory and 
full of hope; and the venerable man, 
bowed down as he was by years and 
sorrow, looked forward to the day when, 
under the auspices of a worthy heir, 
King's Baynard itself would rise from 
the ashes of the past, and shake off the 
curse which had clung to it with such 
relentless and bitter persistency, since the 
days of the termagant Joan. 

VOL. I. e 



50 king's baynard. 

" Young John" had felt his heart 
warm towards the old man, who was 
evidently shaken by the emotion which 
the fervour of his zeal had called up in 
his own breast, and he determined to do 
him all honour in the presence of the con- 
gregation. He waited for him at the 
church door with uncovered head, to 
exchange greetings with him, and to 
thank him for the sermon he had just 
preached. As the sunlight streamed 
down upon the heir's " comely head," 
and lighted his fine and purely chiselled 
features with an almost godlike beauty, 
the old man gazed upon his face, as 
though it had been the face of an 
angel, and the tears streamed down his 
withered cheeks as he clasped the offered 
hand with uncontrollable emotion — he was 
only able to say by way of welcome, 

" God bless you, my dear boy, God 
bless you I" 



king's baynard. 51 

It was Mr. Baynard' s welcome home, 
the first that had ever been addressed 
to him in the cordial paternal accents, 
which had been strangers to his former 
life. 

No wonder, then, that his heart went out 
to meet that of the bowed and strick en 
old man, whose hand trembled in his 
own, and whose life had been spent at 
King's Baynard, the beautiful patrimony 
which had already begun to exert such 
potent influence over the ardent imagi- 
nation of the proud heir. No wonder 
that the heart of the aged rector softened 
towards the worse than orphaned scion 
of the accursed race, while the remem- 
brance of the blight which had hitherto 
spared no true-born Baynard, hovered, in 
his opening manhood, like a cloud over the 
head of this one, who stood gracious and 
smiling before him, the Felix before whom 
he had preached. 

e 2 



UBRARY " 

UNIVERSITY OF MfWtS 



52 king's baynabd. 

" Surely it will spare him, surely it 
must spare that handsome lad, with the 
stamp of honesty in his face, such as I 
have never seen before in one of that 
stock. Thank God for all his mercies ! 
and may the curse that has fallen upon 
six generations be lifted from their house 
at last I" 

Such thoughts as these passed through 
the mind of the Rector, as he returned 
to the Rectory with feeble steps, and 
leaning upon his servant's arm. It was 
the last time that he ever preached in the 
parish-church of King's Baynard. 



53 



CHAPTER III. 

"To his eye, 
There was one beloved face on earth, 
And that was shining on him." 

BYRON. 

SOON after the establishment of 
" young John " at the old Hall, 
another event of almost equal importance 
occupied the minds and the tongues of the 
gossips of Elminster, and of the neighbour- 
hood for miles round. 

The reader will be good enough to re- 
member, that the scenes which I will do 
my best to bring vividly before his mind's 
eye occurred many years ago, the exact 
date of which it is not necessary here to 
record. 



54 king's baynaed. 

The events of note and importance in a 
county were to a great many, in those 
days, the events and importance of a 
world ; and the market-town of Elminster 
(the fictitious capital of the mythical shire, 
for which I have before apologized) was 
thronged on Saturdays with the members 
of each important or insignificant family 
who had place, seat, farm, or even villa 
in the neighbourhood. 

" I shall be in town on Saturday," was a 
sentence continually on the lip of squire, 
sportsman, farmer, or retired tradesman, 
anxious to make an appointment with some 
friend or patron ; and nothing less than 
serious illness, or a recent death in the 
family, would have prevented any county 
magnate from attending the usual rendez- 
vous "in town on Saturday.' ' 

The town was in a state of unusual 
excitement on one particular Saturday of 
Saturdays, upon which the brilliant, witty, 



king's baynard. 55 



and eccentric Henry Vavasour was to pass 
through with his bride on their way back 
to Vavasour Park, after a foreign tour. 
Male gossips discussed the fact of the 
bachelor turned Benedict at the mature 
age of fifty, at the bar of the inn, where 
the newly married couple were expected 
to change horses ; and women tore the 
subject to shreds at their different places 
of meeting in the town, noted for the cele- 
bration of the mystical rites of luncheon 
(five o'clock teas were unknown in those 
days, and the fair sex were much given to 
luncheons and early dinners) and scandal 
ad libitum. 

What gave pungency and zest to the 
fact was that the wary and sarcastic states- 
man and orator was generally believed to 
have been out-generaled and circumvented 
by the wiles of a siren thirty years his 
junior, the celebrated opera-singer and most 
beautiful woman of her day, already so well 



56 king's baynard. 

known to the public by her maiden name of 
St. Marque. However that might have 
been, there was the undoubted fact that 
lie had married her ; and the other un- 
doubted fact that the worthy host of the 
" Red Lion " had sent from his stable that 
morning four of his best horses to bring 
the bride and bridegroom " through " to 
Elminster. 

" He's not ashamed of it, at all events," 
remarked Mr. Town-Eden (a popular 
county squire and magistrate, and a near 
neighbour of the bridegroom, Henry Va- 
vasour) "or he would not have chosen 
Saturday for coming through, of all days 
in the week." 

" We shall get a glimpse of c the St. 
Marque' unless they keep the blinds 
matrimonially down," observed the son of 
the last speaker, a manly-looking, hand- 
some young sportsman, supposed by his 
compeers to be equally strong in his judg- 



KING'S. BAYNAED. 57 

ment as regarded the points either of a 
woman or a horse. 

The words were hardly spoken, when all 
doubts or misgivings on that head were 
satisfactorily cleared away; and a hand- 
some plain chariot, with the blinds well up, 
dashed through the archway into the inn- 
yard, mud-bespatterd, and drawn by four 
road - stained posters, whose heaving 
flanks and distended nostrils bore witness 
to the speed with which the last stage had 
been traversed. It was the work of a 
moment or two to unyoke them from the 
carriage, and to replace them by four 
blood bays, Mr. Vavasour's own property ; 
for in those days the great county families 
travelled in more state than royalty itself 
in our own will consent to be encumbered 
with. 

The neatly-appointed postillions were 
in their saddles in an instant ; but in that 
flash of time the eyes of the eager assern- 



58 KING'S B4TNABD. 

bled crowd had feasted upon the face of 
the beautiful bride, who had wound such 
a laurel crown around her own name of 
St. Marque, that the prouder one of her 
husband paled in its splendour before it. 

" ' The St. Marque ' is lovelier than 
ever — is not our Ninon a royal bride P" 
remarked the young sportsman before 
alluded to, to Mr. Baynard, who gazed with 
equal admiration at the beautiful profile of 
the songstress, but silently, and without 
expressing his opinion upon the subject of 
her charms. 

"Why, there's not one of our county 
ladies can hold a candle to her," added 
this enthusiastic admirer, heedless of the 
black looks bestowed upon him by some 
of the " county ladies " in question, who 
were ' not prepared to hold themselves 
eclipsed by an opera-singer and aparvenue. 

The excitement of the day was over. 
The bride and bridegroom had " gone 



king's baynaed. 59 

through," and, as the sounds of the 
horse-hoofs and the rumble of the 
chariot-wheels died away, the order was 
given " to saddle" and "put to," while 
the shouts of ostlers and stable-boys, 
and the trampling of steeds innumerable 
proclaimed to experienced ears that the 
worthy host of the " Red Lion " had 
reaped a more than usually abundant har- 
vest on that Saturday of all Saturdays, 
when the bride of Henry Vavasour made 
her first appearance in the town, which 
was crowded to overflowing in honour of 
the auspicious event. 

The road was crowded that afternoon 
with steeds and vehicles of every 
description, from the open barouche and 
pair of the Squire's lady to the don- 
key-cart of the humble market-woman. 
Gigs, too, were prevalent in those days, 
and were much affected by the parson 
and the farmer; frequently by those to 



60 king's baynaed. 

whom the Banting regime would have 
been of service. Our hazy recollection 
of the road on such occasions, presents a 
picture of one or two very fat farmers 
proceeding with a sort of wabbling mo- 
tion, and at jog trot pace, in that 
antiquated and now exploded vehicle. 
Memory also carries us back to the 
feelings of deep humiliation attending 
the process of being tied into a gig, 
strongly and firmly, by means of a 
yellow silk handkerchief. 

As the Hon. and Rev. Archibald Strange- 
ways was proceeding leisurely homewards 
in one of those vehicles, drawn by a weedy 
thorough-bred drafted out of the racing 
stables of the noble Earl, his brother, 
66 young John " dashed past him with his 
spurs in the flanks of a powerful chest- 
nut, whose hot blood could little brook 
the indignity offered him, and who was 
going at racing pace. 



king's baynaed. 61 

" I shall take a line across country, 
and meet the carriage at Mark's Bush," 
shouted the handsome lad ; and as the 
chestnut crashed over the first fence, 
and seemed in his rapid stride to 
devour the open, over which he was 
galloping, the Reverend remarked to his 
companion, an elderly farmer, to whom 
he was giving a lift, 

" What a glorious fellow he is ! What 
a fine thing it will be for King's Baynard 
when he comes into the property I" 

" He's a right good un himself, but 
he comes of a bad stock. They used to 
say, when I was a lad, that old Sir Mark 
had sold himself to the devil. There was 
some very dark stories about that Bar' net, 
and they say the present one favours him 
both in faytur and temper." 

As " young John " scoured the country 
on his wild chestnut, to get another glimpse 
at the sweet southern eyes which had 



62 



KING S BAYNAKD. 



fascinated him, we will carry the reader 
into the presence of the far-famed beauty 
herself, who, leaning back in the chariot, 
with an expression of deep thought upon 
her countenance, was awoke from her 
reverie, as she entered the princely domain 
of which she was now the mistress, by her 
husband's voice saying : 

"Look up, Ninon, you are on your 
own ground now ; we are just at Mark's 
Bush, which is the boundary of the Vava- 
sour property." 

Mrs. Vavasour did look up eagerly, 
in obedience to the wish so expressed; 
and as she did so, her eye rested upon 
the glowing countenance of " young 
John," who, with his horse in a white 
foam, was passing the carriage at the 
moment; and lifting his hat partly in 
acknowledgment of his acquaintance with 
Mr. Vavasour, and partly in homage to 
the presence of the beautiful bride. 



king's baynakd. 63 

"Who is that?" Mrs. Vavasour ex- 
claimed. " I never saw a finer counten- 
ance in my life," she added, as she follow- 
ed with her eyes the vanishing form of 
the heir of King's Baynard. 

" That young man," answered Mr. 
Vavasour rather drily, " is the son of 
Sir Marmaduke Baynard, who resides 
abroad; his estate is next mine, and he 
has lately sent his son to take possession 
of the old place. He is a fine fellow, and 
his name is the greatest disadvantage he 
possesses ; for his father and grandfather 
did their best to make it odious and 
contemptible. The spot we have just 
passed, was called Mark's Bush, because 
Sir Mark Baynard shot a peasant there 
for some trifling offence, and in conse- 
queuce was obliged to fly the country. 
The Baynards have been half foreigners 
since, with the exception of this 
one, who seems to enter heart and 



64 king's batnard. 

soul into the pleasures of English country 
life." 

Mnon was silent — she was gazing with 
admiration, not unmingled with awe, at 
the noble inheritance of the Yavasours ; 
and as the park gates were thrown open 
upon their hinges, a kind voice at her 
side said, " Welcome, Mnon — welcome 
home" — and as her husband pressed the 
little hand confidingly laid in his own, 
he added with a smile of pleasure at her 
evident amazement, "And what do you 
think of it, child?" 

" It is beautiful ! it is grand ! too 
beautiful — too grand for me !" answered 
she; the tears swimming in her bright 
eyes, with emotion caused by the new 
sensation which accompanied the words, 
"Welcome home," from the lips she loved 
best in the world. 

Home to her had hitherto been but as 
a dream and a by-word ; for she had been 



king's baynard. 65 

homeless, and a wanderer from her early 
infancy. 

" I have given it a beautiful mistress," 
Mr. Yavasonr remarked, almost as if 
speaking to himself, rather than to his 
companion. 

If this were the case, his attention was 
soon directed into the proper channel ; 
for his wife, pressing his hand between 
both her own, said softly, 

" Thank you, Henri, for all your kind- 
ness to me — all your love; and thank 
you from my very heart that before I 
came here you should have told me 
all." 

Mrs. Vavasour spoke English with a 
foreign idiom and accent that was just 
enough to be very charming. Her history 
had been a short (she was but twenty 
when Mr. Vavasour married her) but an 
eventful one. 

Her father, the heir to a French Mar- 

VOL. I. F 



66 king's baynaed. 

quisate, had in the heyday of youth and 
passion allied himself in marriage with 
the Signorina San Marca, or the Siren 
of the South as she had been christened du- 
ring her brief but brilliant operatic career in 
the French capital. She was a beautiful, 
impassioned woman, totally incapable 
of either feeling or bestowing domestic 
tranquillity and happiness. Her young 
husband, madly in love, and distrusting 
the temptations of the capital for one 
so sought after and idolized, carried 
her, sorely against her will, to the dismal 
old chateau in Brittany where his father, 
the Marquis, reigned in solitary grand- 
eur. 

There, the little Mnon had opened her 
wondrous and wondering eyes upon the 
world. There, she had known, for a brief 
space, the overflowings of her young 
father's tenderness — her mother had none 
to spare for her. 



king's baynard. 67 

She was at that time engaged in an 
intrigue with one of her Parisian ad- 
mirers, who had followed her to the rural 
retreat; and when little Mnon could just 
walk alone, her mother deserted her and 
fled — bringing shame to the noble family 
of her husband, and death to the gallant 
young man himself, whose only fault had 
been that of loving her too well. He 
followed the fugitives, and was killed 
in mortal combat by the betrayer of his 
honour, who himself escaped uninjured, 
and who was received none the less gladly 
by the heartless wife, that his hands 
were imbrued in the blood of the injured 
and the innocent. 

Ninon thus left an orphan, was sent at 
an early age to Paris to be educated. 
She soon became the pet and the play- 
thing of the simple-minded nuns, who 
were fascinated by the innocent ways and 
the surpassing loveliness of the child, who 

F 2 



68 king's baynakd. 

was thrown upon their hands in such a 
desolate and friendless condition. 

The Marquis of the ancient regime, 
Ninon's grandfather, entertained nothing 
but feelings of aversion for the daughter of 
the woman who had brought' shame to his 
noble house ; and when attracted by the 
marvellous richness and quality of her 
voice, the great maestro and composer 
of the age proposed to adopt her 
as his own, he gave his ready 
and even eager assent. " Only let her 
resign the name of our house," was his 
one stipulation ; and with a lingering re- 
membrance of the glories of the siren 
San Marca, and with a due regard to 
the more noble French blood inherited 
from her father, the maestro bethought him 
of a happy compromise, and introduced 
the child to the world under the name 
which was afterwards to earn world-wide 
reputation, that of Ninon St. Marque. 



king's bayxaed. 69 

" She will be the Queen of the Parisian 
stage," he exclaimed prophetically, the 
first time he heard her sing, and noted 
the marvellous flexibility and volume of 
her voice. 

His prophecy was fulfilled ^ some years 
after, when Paris received the talented 
and youthful prima donna, with an enthu- 
siasm, and an ovation, such as that art- 
loving city alone can feel and render. 

" The St. Marque" was but eighteen 
when she made her triumphant debut on the 
Parisian stage ; the year afterwards, she 
made an equally successful one in London ; 
the grave, severe audiences of which more 
sober town so often fill the ardent foreign 
artists with a new-born dread. From the 
proud position of " Queen of Song," 
which she had attained in both capitals, 
she had now abdicated in order to reign 
and rule, supreme, over the affections of 
one of England's noblest statesmen; a 



70 king's baynard. 

man who amidst the din and strife of 
politics had preserved his honour intact, 
and who had swayed the minds of his 
colleagues in office, as they can only .be 
swayed by the consciousness of a purer 
integrity, as well as a more exalted in- 
tellectual standard than their own. 

Notwithstanding the disparity of years 
which existed between Mnon and her hus- 
band, she loved him with her whole heart 
and soul, with a far stronger love even 
than that which she had entertained for 
the maestro, who had been father, mother 
and brother to her in one. 

Amongst the brilliant band of suitors 
who had sought her hand in marriage, 
her heart had never spoken, as the French 
express it, to any but to the one she 
had chosen, who was more than thirty 
years her senior. She had passed by the 
stripling possessors of coronets, all des- 
perately in love, and all vying with each 



king's batnaed. 



other in respectful homage to " the St. 
Marque," and had laid her little white 
hand, in love and loyal confidence, in 
that of Henry Yavasour, a bachelor of 
fifty years standing. 

Those women who were charitable and 
large-hearted enough to understand and 
sympathise in her choice, quoted in her 
defence the words of the great master, 
whose genius penetrates the windings and 
secrets of their own subtle and intricate 
natures. He says : — 

" Let still the woman take 
An elder than herself— so wears she to him 
So sways she level in her husband's heart : 
For boy, however we do praise ourselves, 
Our fancies are more giddy and infirm, 
More longing, wavering, sooner lost and won 
Than women's are." 

Mnon was not one to doubt or hesitate 
in a matter in which her own happiness 
was vitally concerned. She read the gene- 



72 KING'S J3ATNARD. 

rous, lofty nature of Henry Vavasour like 
the page of a book — it was this that had 
attracted her, and not as the world more 
than insinuated his princely wealth or his 
proud position, both in social and political 
life. 

These attributes were not without their 
charms as " accessories after the fact," 
and the bride enjoyed, with almost childish 
delight, the first introduction to the stately 
home, which had been so long barren of 
the element and centre of attraction — a 
loving and beloved mistress. 

~No one had ever contemplated the pro- 
bability of Mr. Vavasour's breaking the 
spell of bachelorhood, which had hitherto 
held him as in a vice. That there had 
been a secret chamber in which lay the 
shrouded form of a dead past, Ins wife 
with womanly penetration had long since 
discovered ; but her husband had been per- 
sistently silent on the subject, and had 



73 

never told her the history of his first love, 
until they were traversing the last stage to 
Elminster, on the auspicious Saturday 
upon which he took her home. 

It was this confidence which she had 
thanked him for, as they were about to 
enter it together ; but, nevertheless, it had 
not been entire. She had pressed him 
eagerly for the name of the woman, whose 
image had been so long enshrined in his 
memory, but a spasm of pain had passed 
over his countenance as he answered 
firmly, but tenderly — " No, no, I have 
sworn that her name shall never pass my 
lips again. You women do not trifle with 
us for nothing. Let the subject drop now, 
as you love me." 

"Only one question and I have done; 
forgive me, Henry — does she live ?" 

" No !" 

" It is well, I could not have borne a liv- 
ing rival," she answered with a smile; 



74 king's baynard. 

one of those bewitching smiles that made 
her irresistible to rivals even, and whose 
power over her subjects was unlimited 
enough to be dangerous. 

" You have little cause for fear," said 
Mr. Vavasour, looking at her with fond 
exultation. " To me, there is none like 
you but yourself." 

Mr. Vavasour was proud of his choice, 
and most men would have pronounced that 
he had reason to be proud of it. He was 
a man whose brilliant public career had 
rendered him fully alive to the omnipo- 
tence of opinion, and as Mrs. Vavasour 
took her place at the head of his table for 
the first time, dressed in the simple but 
costly toilette which showed her natural 
graces to the greatest advantage, he owned 
to himself that she nobly adorned the 
position to which he had raised her. 

" You have made a sensation already," 
said he to his wife, as soon as the servants 



king's baynaed. 75 

had left the room; "it was only to get 
another sight of you that e Young John ' 
waylaid us to-day." 

" Ah ! these Baynards have excited my 
interest; — they are neighbours, you told 
me ; and this young man, about whom you 
are pleased to jest, tell me, will he be 
rich some day ? — as rich as he is hand- 
some? for I, too, you see, Henri, have 
lost my heart to this ( young John.' Are 
you not jealous, my husband ?" she added, 
laughing merrily, and placing her hand on 
Mr. Vavasour's arm. 

" Perhaps I shall be, if you go on 
attracting young men in the wake of 
your chariot wheels, at the peril of their 
necks, whenever you make your public 
appearance, Mnon. As for this lad, he 
will be rich some day, when he comes 
into the Baynard property ; and it will be 
a good day for the property when he 
does." 



76 king's baynakd. 

" His father — you told me lie was an 
outlaw, a vaurien, if I remember." 

" I did ; and, besides his own short- 
comings, he is married to a foreign woman 
of bad reputation, who would not be 
received or visited here." 

" The mother of this boy ?" 

" No. Sir Marmaduke Baynard was 
married before to a young and beautiful 
woman — so report says, at least — who. 
died young." 

"Who was she, then, this first Lady 
Baynard ?" 

" There was the mystery. Nobody 
knew who she was ; and, as I tell 
you, she soon died, and the curiosity 
which had been excited respecting her 
died away. He never brought her to 
King's Baynard." 

" I remember now," said Mrs. Vavasour 
eagerly, "where it was that I heard the 
name. It was at Rome, when I was there 



king's bay n A ED. 77 

with the maestro. Sir Marmaduke was 
living there with a bold Italian woman, who 
terrified me, and did me an ill turn, for she 
was jealous of my success. She was not 
Lady Baynard then," she added, with a 
hot blush, and a curl in her haughty lip. 

" Were you singing in Rome then, 
Ninon ?" 

" In private only. I had happy days in 
Rome until — " 

"Until what, child? — until some one 
fell a victim to your evil eye, I suppose. 
Xow tell me, in confidence, you know, 
you were talking of rivals, how many 
living rivals have I? What prince, or 
marquis, or count did you sing out of 
this pretty toy for instance?" Mr. Va- 
vasour asked, pointing to a bracelet of 
brilliants which adorned the lovely arm 
resting confidingly on his shoulder. 

" Fear not," she answered, while a 
sudden cloud spread itself over her fair 



78 king's baynaed. 

brow, " the rival who gave me these gems 
is dead long ago. He was stabbed in the 
streets of Rome by the hirelings of his 
haughty relatives, for seeking to ally 
himself with the singer Ninon. These 
brilliants, poor boy, are the price of his 
blood; but I knew nothing until long 
after ; I would never go to Rome again," 
she added, with a shudder. 

" Ninon," said her husband, gravely but 
tenderly, " to-morrow I will give you bet- 
ter, fairer gems than these. I ask you as a 
favour, let me see these no more." 

"You ask me a favour !" she exclaimed, 
with an exulting expression in her face. 
"It is the first, you are too good," and, 
flinging it from her, she said, " I vow to 
you, Henri, I will never wear it again. 
Are you satisfied now ?" 

" Who would not be satisfied with you, 
child?" was the reply. "You are an en- 
chantress and a witch." 



79 



CHAPTER IV. 

" And therefore, lords, since he affects her most, 
It most of all these reasons bindeth us, 
In our opinions she should be preferr'd." 

TT was a strange alliance, but not one 
-*- likely to be attended with unhappy 
results. To his stately bachelor home, 
sacred hitherto to Blue Books, and to 
deep classical study and research, the 
statesman had brought his young and 
lovely, but hitherto undomesticated bride. 
They had both of them lived, more or less, 
upon the world's stage, and tasted of the 
applause of men — how sweet it was — and 
they were both pre-eminently fitted to win 
what was to them as a part of the air 



80 king's baynaep. 

they breatlied. Brilliant, lustrous na- 
ture^ such as theirs, like the precious 
gems which they resemble, reflect rather 
than originate light. They cannot of 
themselves illumine the darkness, but they 
can reflect with dazzling brilliancy the 
rays from without ; and society, or the 
world of men, supplies those rays, which are 
to be focussed, and multiplied in a thousand 
different hues, from the crystal centre of ge- 
nius or intellect, which alone can give them 
back to the beholder beautified and enriched. 
The author, or the philosopher who can 
shine to the world, though he never pass 
his study, possesses the light in himself, 
and is a different nature from the man who 
shines in the world, through the brilliancy 
of his personal gifts. The power of the 
great orator is worked by altogether dif- 
ferent forces from those that work the power 
of the great author. The first sways by 
the personality of the soul, and appeals to 



king's batnabd. 81 

the emotions of his hearers ; the other by 
the personality of the intellect, which domi- 
neers over the passionless mind. 

The "life of life was society" to Henry 
Vavasour and to his talented young "wife ; 
for society alone, presented the arena on 
which their laurels could be won. How 
dear does that arena become to the suc- 
cessful in life ! Those can bear witness to 
the fact who have fought and conquered 
on the blood-stained field. The rostrum 
to the orator, the senate to the statesman, 
the studio to the artist, the plain of war 
to the soldier, are all as clear to them as 
the scent of the battle to the war-horse of 
Job. " He saith among the trumpets, 
• ha, ha ;' and he smelleth the battle afar 
off, and the thunder of the captains and 
the shouting." The scene of an early 
failure on the contrary, or the witness 
of a tyro hand, are unsupportable to the 
sight, and come back like the shades of 
VOL. i. g 



82 king's baynard. 

foes wlio mastered us in the lists, when 
the warfare was unequal and new. 

Mr. Vavasour not being, as the reader 
will perceive from the description given of 
him, a man to despise public opinion, 
laboured under a certain amount of an- 
xiety as to the reception of his young bride 
amongst the haughty and exclusive county 
aristocracy of a haughty and exclusive 
Shire. There was, indeed, no reason why 
the ojjera singer, who had borne during her 
short but brilliant career the most crystal 
like purity of character, should not take 
the place to which her marriage entitled 
her amongst her husband's compeers. 
But so much, in these matters, depends 
upon the tone which the women, who are 
the leaders of society, choose to assume to- 
wards the new comer, that it is impossible, 
until the die is cast, to foresee either sixes 
or blanks. This Mr. Vavasour well knew — 
and it was a question of more importance 



KINU's BAYNARD. 83 

to oneinMr8. Vavasour's position, in those 
days, than it would be now, when town 
and country are so much more united, 
bound together by the iron grasp of the 
rail. Then, indeed, the society of a 
county was more or less the society of a 
world to those who lived in it. It was 
a question then of some moment, even to 
one in Mr. Vavasour's position, as to the 
tone of the welcome vouchsafed by the 
county ladies and dames to his bride ; 
for if she was recognised at all, it must 
be with the honour and deference due 
to the wife of the representative of one 
of the oldest families in the neighbourhood. 
The annual county ball was to take 
place at Elminster the following week ; and 
it was in order to be present at this 
popular gathering, that the Vavasours 
had returned from their continental tour 
before the time originally fixed for their 
doing so. By this change of plans, in- 

G 2 



84 king's baynabd. 

deed, they had thwarted, unintentionally, 
the designs of some of the most jealous 
of the county ladies, who had foreseen 
a dangerous rival in the beautiful and 
graceful woman whom they still amongst 
themselves perversely called "the opera 
singer, St. Marque." 

Mr. Vavasour had, however, intended 
from the first, that his bride should make 
her public appearance in Derefordshire on 
this occasion, and he was too keen a 
diplomatist to let the opportunity pass 
for making the decided coup at once. 
What though the two county factions, led 
on one side by the Dowager Duchess of 
Silch ester, and on the other by the 
young Countess of Arranmore, had de- 
clared that the parvenue should never 
take her place among them "as one of us, 
my dear" they would be obliged to yield 
before the clamour of the popular cry, 
which Mr. Vavasour knew enough of the 



king's baynapj). 85 

world to be sure would be on the 
side of bis lovely and all-accomplisbed 
bride. " Only let them see her," 
thought this proud husband, " and the 
day is ours." And that they should see 
her in all her glory, radiant in the far- 
famed Vavasour jewels, which had not 
seen the light, nor basked on the neck of 
beauty for many a long day, he was 
equally determined. 

The morning after their arrival, Mr. 
Vavasour requested the pleasure of his 
wife's society in the most interesting room 
in the house, called from time immemorial 
the " Oak Chamber ;" a chamber winch 
had been particularly appropriated to the 
ladies of the family (when ladies there had 
been), and which, during the bachelor 
days of Henry Vavasour, he had dedicated 
to the memory of the gracious presences 
departed, by making it the depositary and 
store-room for all the rich and costly 



86 king's baynard. 

articles of female luxury which apper- 
tained to the house of Vavasour. Here 
might have been found the wedding suits 
of brides whose great grand- children had 
long been mingled with dust. Here the 
patch-box of some proud beauty, with a 
Petitot enamel on the lid ; here a chate- 
laine, there a fan ; here a tiny high-heeled 
shoe, testifying to the living limits of the 
Vavasour fairy foot ; every sort of femi- 
nine relic might have been found in the 
Oak Chamber by one interested in prose- 
cuting a search among the glories of a 
bygone day; and in the iron-proof safes 
which occupied a recess in this chamber 
of delights were immured the brilliant 
gems, which under Ninon's auspices were 
once more to see the light of day. 

" Splendid ! magnificent ! regal !" she 
exclaimed, as with a true woman's delight 
in jewels, she opened one after another the 
cases containing the Vavasour diamonds, 



king's baynaed. 87 

of which her experienced eye at once saw 
the inestimable worth. 

" You will become them well, Mnon." 

(( Yes, and they me. If I had seen 
these gems before, Henri, I should have 
been afraid to marry you." 

" Why so ?" 

" The world would have said, what 
woman could have withstood those ? But it 
was you, yourself, that Ninon St. Marque 
could not withstand." 

How fondly Mr. Vavasour gazed on his 
young wife, as she said the words ! Surely 
the dead past will be folded in its pale 
shroud now, and the light of those 
glorious eyes will drown every bitter 
memory, making impossible the poet's 
"crown of sorrow," that of "remember- 
ing happier things." Some such thought 
must have passed through his mind, for 
he drew Mnon towards him and tenderly 
embraced her, while his keen grey eyes 



88 king's baynaejd. 

filled with tears as he did so. For the 
last years of his life the treasures of the 
intellect had been to him all in all — now 
the treasures of the heart were beginning 
in his maturer age to unfold and to deve- 
lop themselves once again. 

With the pleasure of a boy, he decked 
his bride in one magnificent set of jewels 
after another, and exulted in her marvel- 
lous beauty in each. Pearl or diamond, 
ruby or sapphire, turquoise or emerald, re- 
flected or contrasted with some charm of 
nature's own bestowing on her. 

"I do not know which I prefer," he 
ended with ; " but there is no question 
but that you must wear the diamonds on 
Friday; they have not been seen in the 
county since my mother wore them as a 
bride ; she would not wear them after- 
wards in the county for fear of exciting 
jealousy. Lady Arranmore's are the finest, 
with the exception of these ; but they are 



king's baynaed. 89 

not to be compared with them, either for 
size or lustre." 

" Where is the pendant belonging to 
this set ?" asked Mrs. Vavasour, as she 
handled lovingly a pearl necklace, com- 
posed of three rows of pearls of great 
size and value, to which there had evi- 
dently been a jewel or locket attached. 

"It is in my escritoire ; it contained 
some of my sister's hair, and was the only 
jewel of value in my eyes as a bachelor, 
Ninon." 

" Ah !" she said, laughing softly to her- 
self, a musical rippling laugh, which one of 
her worshippers had pronounced to be "a 
song," on her lips, " mais nous avons 
change tout cela, n'est-ce pas, mon 
ami?" 

" Indeed, we have; but I must get that 
locket— the set is spoiled without it. I 
have got the key somewhere among 
these." 



90 king's baynard. 

"It is rusty, Henri; you do not use 
this escritoire now ?" 

" Not for years ; I should not open it 
now, but for you. Kemember, Ninon," he 
added seriously, and turning to look into 
her face as he spoke, " remember to look 
into this escritoire when I die ; I wish you 
then to hioiv all. Will you remember, my 
child ?" 

" Surely, if when you die I remember any- 
thing, I promise you I will remember this." 

" You promise, Mnon ?" 

" I promise — but if it pains you, why 
should you open it now ?" 

" I have a fancy to see that locket. I 
think the hair in it is the same colour as 
yours." 

The key, rusty as it was, turned easily 
in the lock, and the lid flying backwards 
with a spring, disclosed a beautifully 
fitted but old-fashioned bureau, or cabi- 
net, in which were drawers and secret 



KING S BAYNARD. 91 

receptacles innumerable, for such things 
as were of value either intrinsically, or in 
their owner's eyes. Here were evidently 
some relics of the dead past — some 
" tender touches of a hand long still " to 
smite upon the living heart, and wake its 
master chords into life and music once 
again. Henry Vavasour must have been 
blest, indeed, if he could invoke the shades 
and memories of his youth, without a 
pang of regret as he did so. It is seldom 
that maturer years bring us the courage 
and the strength to dare such an experi- 
ment as that. It was the greatest com- 
pliment he could have paid the bride who, 
according to the world's way of seeing 
things, was scarcely capable of apprecia- 
ting her lord. 

" See, Ninon," he said, as they bent to- 
gether over the contents of this mysterious 
cabinet, " what were my treasures before 
I found the greatest." 



92 



KING S BAYNARD. 



" I see, and I am not jealous, even of 
her," she answered, looking confidently 
into her husband's face, as he placed in her 
hand a miniature picture, which she knew 
instinctively was the portrait of the dream 
of his youth. 

She gazed long and earnestly at the fair 
false face, there so skilfully limned, which 
had once wrought such bitter wrong to 
her husband. 

" I understand," she said at last 
thoughtfully. " I see it all now. But 
answer me truly, Henri, did Heaven give 
her all that?" 

"All!" replied Mr. Yavasour, briefly ; 
" she was the most beautiful woman but 
one that I ever looked upon." 

" Ah ! so fair, and so bitterly false. 
It is a cruel face through all its loveliness. 
It is not a face to trust." 

" She lies in her nameless grave, Ninon, 
and nameless let her be to us evermore. 



king's batxaed. 93 

She has no longer the will, or the power 
to wound." 

" Thank God !" murmured Mnon softly ; 
" I am to you now, what she might have 
been long ago. I have nothing to hate 
her for now, she is dead /" There was a 
light in her eyes as she said these words, 
that sparkled for a moment and was gone ; 
it was the lightning flash of the sunny 
south, the witness to the ardent nature 
which she had never learnt or wished to 
conceal by the strict rule of conventional 
reticence. She was accustomed to let 
flashes of the most earnest thought and 
feeling play upon her fine countenance 
without concealment, as they came and 
went. It was this attribute which had made 
what was called her acting so perfect. 
She threw her soul into the part and 
nature did the rest. 

"It is no use to give me a part that I 
do not feel" she would say to her em- 



94 king's eaynaed. 

plovers ; " for I assure you I cannot 
act." 

Mr. Vavasour had said of her the first 
time he had heard and seen her on the 
stage, " Do not call her an actress, but 
an artist of the highest order; there is 
truth in every action and every tone ; not 
the representation of truth, but truth 
itself. He had made this enthusiastic 
declaration in a loud voice at his club, 
and the younger men turned amused to 
listen to this flattering critique of the 
goddess of the hour, from the lip of the 
distinguished statesman. 

" By Jove, Vavasour's bit," said one of 
his contemporaries, when he had left the 
room. " I trust he does not contemplate 
robbing the public of ' the St. Marque,' for 
he never tried for anything and failed 
yet." 

Perhaps the secrets of the successful 
statesman's private bureau would have 



king's baynard. 95 

told a different tale ; but in the case of 
the songstress, he was, as we have seen, to 
add another laurel to his well-earned 
wreath. Not a month after that memor- 
able speech, the town was electrified by 
the news that the young and beautiful 
Ninon and the sedate middle-aged Henry 
Yavasour, were man and wife. 



96 



CHAPTER V. 

" No — Man for his glory 

To ancestry flies ; 
But "Woman's bright story 

Is told in her eyes. 
"While the Monarch but traces 

Through mortals his line, 
Beauty, born of the Graces, 

Eanks next to Divine !" — moore. 

rilHE ball-room was beginning to fill. 
-*- " Some of the best people are come," 
said Miss Fydgette to Miss Flyte ; and the 
two little old ladies, who had been El- 
minster belles some half century before, 
spread their scanty skirts over the rout 
seats, and prepared to enjoy themselves, 
after a fashion peculiarly their own. They 
knew everybody, and everybody knew thenu 



king's baynard. 97 

and this consoling remark was made to 
some early comers, who had been fretting 
themselves for some time previously, 
on the score of having committed the 
mistake of entering the ball-room half an 
hour before the atmosphere had been 
refined by the presence of the genuine aris- 
tocracy, from the surrounding neighbour- 
hood. 

" I told you how it would be, mamma,'' 
said Miss Emily Jane, as she picked perse- 
veringly at the button which would not 
come to terms with the legitimate hole; 
"you are never happy unless we are here 
to light the candles." 

" Law, my dear," said good-natured 
Miss Flyte, with a dash of ridicule in her 
voice, " when I was a girl, I never com- 
plained of being taken too soon to a ball, 
and did not call it early unless we did 
light the candles ; but young people are 
sadly changed since my day." 

VOL. T. h 



98 . king's batnaed. 

" The Town-Edens are come/' whispered 
the well-fed, black-whiskered brother of 
the genteel Emily Jane, who had just suc- 
ceeded in buttoning her glove. The result 
of the operation was the reverse of becom- 
ing, as the tight pink flesh of her plump 
arm swelled painfully at the junction where 
it was encircled by the tight white glove. 

This advent of the Town-Edens had a 
magical effect upon others, as well as upon 
our two young friends. Simpering and 
fidgeting, and anxious attempts at eye 
catching were perceptible as the grandees, 
with their party, moved up the room 
in the direction of the raised dais set apart 
for the occupation of the high-born dames 
who should honour the Elminster county 
ball with their illustrious presence. Many 
a stout struggle for precedence, indeed, 
had been witnessed by that well-fought 
field, when the bewildered male magnate, 
or chief steward of the ceremonies had 



king's baynard. 99 

stood awe-stricken in the presence of two 
dowagers of equal rank, one of whose 
ancestors had fought at Cressy, and the 
other at Agincourt, arid each one hugging 
to her ample and agitated bosom a belief 
in the prior claims of her own position and 
dignity. On one occasion, indeed, a scene 
of an awful and imposing character, based 
upon some such grounds, had afforded 
the gossips of Elminster and of the 
country round, a fund of interesting 
matter for discussion during ensuing 
weeks and months. The Dowager Countess 
of Longaville, who, in the absence of the 
Duchess of Silchester, had an undisputed 
right to the claim of precedence, had been 
exposed to the indignity of beholding the 
steward of the highest rank, and whose 
name was the first on the list, leading 
into supper the young and beautiful Lady 
Constance Beauxyeux, evidently oblivious 
of the fact that the dowager diamonds 

h 2 



100 king's baynard. 

were flashing with light, agitated by the 
storm of rage then surging within the 
dowager breast. No one will forget the 
tones of the widow of a Longaville as, 
gathering her affrighted troop about her, 
she left the room with a tragic sweep, 
saying, loud enough to be heard by all, 
to a trembling lordling who offered to 
escort her in to supper : " No, my Lord, 
J thank you — I sup at home." 

Lesser spirits quailed before the awful 
storm ; but it was whispered that the high 
steward and the Lady Constance ate a 
good supper, unconscious of the outburst 
of dowager indignation ; and that, upon 
their return to the ball-room, this irre- 
verent observation escaped the lips of the 
former is upon record, 

" Where on earth is the old witch gone 
to ? I suppose I ought to have taken her in 
to supper, as chief broomstick in waiting." 

It was not much of a joke, but the Lady 



king's bayeard. 101 

Constance's mother, who was on the look 
out for an establishment for her fair 
daughter, looked upon it as the sally of 
an eligible, and, playfully tapping the 
arm of the perpetrator thereof with her 
fan, told him he was " so witty, so sa- 
tirical, that Constance had really laughed 
her hair out of curl, and always com- 
plained that he was so dreadfully severe, 
she was quite afraid of him." Here were 
two good strokes made — a man's weak 
point besieged and taken, and attention 
called to the chief attraction which the 
beauty of some three seasons possessed, 
her lovely and abundant hair. When this 
digression began, it will perhaps be re- 
membered that the Town-Edens had just 
arrived, to the evident satisfaction of the 
black-whiskered young man, and his apple- 
faced sister in the tight gloves. 

The Town-Edens were people of high 
standing and position in the county. Miss 



102 king's baynakd. 

Town-Eden had been the acknowledged 
beauty of the former season, although, 
of course, there had not been wanting 
detractors to remark that she " had been 
decidedly overrated, you know." She 
was, however, without being really beau- 
tiful, a very pretty girl; and, with her 
fine auburn hair, fair skin, and large 
blue eyes, formed a picture an artist's 
eye might have dwelt on with pleasure. 
She had no sooner appeared, and made 
the tour of the ball-room, leaning on her 
father's arm, than a crowd of eager as- 
pirants for the honour of her hand in the 
first dance assembled round her. 

" Engaged! engaged!" she said gaily, " en- 
gaged three deep, and a month ago, too." 

" Oh ! that is too bad," exclaimed her 
adherents in chorus ; and the band 
striking up, added the most forward, 
" And where is the happy man ?" 

" I do not see him, and if he does not 



king's baynard. 103 

appear in five minutes from this time, I 
declare I will not wait." 

" I applaud your resolution, Miss Town- 
Eden." 

" I shouldn't think of it," " Pray don't" 
were the remarks echoed on all sides ; but 
the eye of the beauty seemed to quarrel 
slightly with the clock, as the long hand 
proclaimed that the grace minutes had 
passed away. 

" Time's up !" was exultingly declared at 
last, and as a rather boisterous attempt 
was made to secure Miss Town-Eden as a 
partner in the first dance, a sour-faced 
maiden, over whose head some five-and- 
thirty summers might have come and gone, 
remarked with much asperity to her cha- 
perone, " How Maggie Town-Eden does 
enjoy a romp." 

The face of the young lady, however, 
belied her feelings, if she did enjoy that 
noisy demonstration of her adherents in 



104 king's baynaed. 

her favour, and the black - whiskered 
" squireen," who, by dint of excessive for- 
wardDess, ultimately carried off the prize, 
found himself considerably snubbed before 
the first figure of the quadrille was gone 
through. The only topic upon which Miss 
Town-Eden condescended to be in the 
least degree interested, was the topic of 
the night — the expected appearance in the 
ball-room of Mr. and Mrs. Vavasour. 

"It's sure to be true," her partner had 
observed with the importance of one who 
speaks with authority ; " for Hodgson tells 
me he has sent horses to the Park. Mr. Va- 
vasour never has his own out at night." 

" Have you ever seen Mrs. Vavasour?" 

" No ; but I have seen ' the St. Marque' 
often." 

This apology for a joke, and ill-bred 
attempt at familiarity on the part of her 
partner, disgusted Miss Town-Eden so 
completely, that nothing but the feeling 



king's baynard. 105 

of curiosity paramount just then in her 
breast, would have induced her to continue 
the conversation. Urged, however, by the 
promptings of that feminine weakness, she 
condescended so far as to inquire, " Is she 
as beautiful as report says ?" 

" No one could possibly overrate her ; 
did you hear what John Baynard said of 
her in town last Saturday ?" 

"No." The monosyllable was uttered 
abruptly, while the colour rose to the 
temples of the now interested, if not 
pleased listener. Recovering her self-pos- 
session, she added with- an attempt at 
carelessness, transparent enough to have 
been detected by a child — " I should have 
had greater confidence in Mr. Baynard's 
opinion had a horse been the animal 
under discussion." 

" You are severe, Miss Town-Eden ; 
you don't know ' young John,' perhaps 
— he's a rare judge of beauty, either 



106 king's baynard. 

in women or horses, I can assure you." 
" Indeed ! I have had the pleasure of 
his acquaintance for some little time, 
without having learnt to tremble under 
his critical eye. I hear a carriage now," 
she added after a pause. " They must be 
come at last." 

And the sentence, " They are come," was 
upon a hundred lips in a moment, while 
that curious stir succeeded the announce- 
ment, which betokens that a sensation 
is agitating the pulses of a crowd. Pale ! 
pale ! ye lesser luminaries ! for the queen 
of the night advances ! lustrous in beauty 
and jewels — the star of the sunny south ! 
Exquisitely beautiful, indeed, the bride 
appeared, as, leaning upon her husband's 
arm, she advanced to take her place at the 
upper end, appropriated by tacit con- 
sent to the occupation of the county aris- 
tocracy. There was no doubt of it then 
— her place could have been no where else ; 



king's baynaed/ 107 

and such was the magic of her personal 
influence and fascination, that the most 
stately of the dowagers thawed and re- 
laxed in the sunlight of her actual presence. 
The old Duchess of Silchester herself, 
who had been the most eloquent upon the 
subject of presenting an opera-singer with 
the freedom of the charmed circle, was the 
first to request Mr. Yavasour to present 
her to his wife. It was generally observed 
that he volunteered this honour to nobody 
— he was determined she should be sought, 
and the triumph and ovation were com- 
plete. The presence of royalty itself could 
not have cast such a spell over the 
crowded assembly, as did that of the far- 
famed Mnon. Curiosity and admiration, 
the master-passions of a crowd, were both 
strained to the uttermost, and to ca,tch a 
glimpse of the well-known face, amid scenes 
and under circumstances so new, was the 
object of every individual member of it. 



108 king's baynaed. 

Mr. Vavasour, the bridegroom, notwith- 
standing his years, was the noblest-looking 
man in the room. Erect, stately, grand, 
with a touch of the " old school " in his 
chivalric bearing towards women, which 
distinguished him from the younger 
men of the day, he was just the 
husband to appreciate and worship 
the lovely girl at his side, who for 
her own part looked up to him as the 
Chevalier, the Bayard of men. The notice 
and admiration which her beauty was 
attracting was very grateful to his pride, 
which was of that sort to which popularity 
is the sweetest food. There is a pride 
that scorns the " breath of public praise," 
and one to which it is the " breath of 
life." Mr. Vavasour's was of the latter 
kind. 

" Will you dance ?" he asked his wife, 
with as much respectful homage as though 
he were addressing a queen. " They are 



king's baynard. 109 

very urgent. I think it will give great 
pleasure if you will oblige them." 

The plural pronoun referred in that 
instance to the five stewards, appointed 
to do the honours of the ball-room, and 
who were distinguished by a white ro- 
sette worn in the button-hole. Foremost 
amongst them was Mr. Baynard, known 
to the county generally by the sobriquet 
of "young John." He had engaged 
pretty Margeret Town-Eden to open the 
ball with him a month previously at the 
cover- side, and, to his shame as a gallant 
cavalier, had forgotten his engagement 
until it was too late to fulfil it. It was 
a genuine forget; for there was nothing 
of the coxcomb about " young John." His 
brain had been somewhat turned by the 
beautiful vision that had flashed upon 
him for a moment in the yard of the 
" Red Lion," on the Saturday before. 

He did not, therefore, deserve the 



110 king's baynard. 

honour he obtained in the hand of Mrs. 
Vavasour for her first dance; but he 
was the pet and the idol of the county, 
which was doing its best to spoil the 
frankest and most generous nature in 
the world. He had been put forward 
with one consent by the other stewards, 
to be the " lucky man," when Mr. Va- 
vasour declared, with a smile, that "Mrs. 
Vavasour would make no invidious com- 
parisons, but would have much pleasure 
in dancing with one of them." 

" The eldest, of course," said good- 
natured, gouty Lord Alderbury ; " the 
eldest takes precedence in such a case. 
I put it to the vote." 

" The youngest, the youngest," said 
a clear, ringing voice above them all. 
" Englishmen, stand to your colours, take 
the side of the weakest, if you are worthy 
of the name." 

" Not the lightest, though, by gad," 



king's baynakd. Ill 

said the burly peer, as "young John," in 
pressing forward, stepped on his gouty 
foot. " You have lamed me for the 
night, youngster; I resign my preten- 
sions in your favour." 

" Spoken like a nobleman and a gentle- 
man," was the laughing reply; and with 
more self-possession and aplomb than 
generally falls to the share of two-and- 
twenty, " young John" stepped forward 
to claim the prize, his handsome face 
glowing with exultation, and with the 
ingenious candour of youth. 

As he led his partner to her place in 
the dance, the feeling amongst all be- 
holders was, " What a splendid couple ! 
How well they are matched !" Two 
cheeks paled, however, and two hearts 
sank among the throng of spectators, as 
their owners watched the movements of 
the graceful pair. They belonged respec- 
tively to Mr. Vavasour and to Margaret 



112 king's baynard. 

Town-Eden. Was lie jealous already, 
this strong-hearted greybeard ? — and of 
a stripling like " young John ?" Was 
daisy-like Margaret jealous? and was 
her heart bursting with an impassioned 
angry sob ? 

She had, indeed, some cause for 
jealousy; but it was a bad omen for 
the happiness of Ninon's married life, 
if the handsome face of a mere lad 
could plant so bitter a thorn in the 
heart of her noble-minded husband. He 
seemed, however, spell-bound as he gazed 
upon it, and followed the youth so per- 
sistently with his eyes, that the council 
of dowagers on the raised dais made 
pointed remarks upon the subject. The 
flowers or turbans on their ancient heads 
nodded ominously in time to the click- 
clack of their busy tongues. 

" Depend upon it, my dear, he's jealous. 
He don't like her dancing with a younger 



king's baynard. 113 

man than himself, and I don't know that 
he is not right." 

" Indeed, what your Grace remarks is 
very true ; women who have been in her 
position get too fond of admiration, they 
can't live without it ; and John Baynard is 
a great flirt." 

Mrs. Town-Eden was the last speaker, 
and she knew with a mother's intuition 
that Margaret's heart was very sore that 
night — pretty Margaret, whose high, joy- 
ous spirits during the ten mile drive had 
never nagged, had pricked her finger with 
the thorn, where she had hoped to grasp 
the rose. Her mother, therefore, must be 
pardoned for a sharp word or two, in the 
council of dowagers, while the wound was 
still bleeding, and the injury warm in her 
mind. 

" His father being such a notorious 
roue, I do not know why they should 
make such a fuss with the son," said a 

VOL. I. I 



114 king's baynaed. 

dignified maiden lady, who was called 
" Lady Haughyet," by the old-fashioned 
coterie who clung to such words as " ob- 
leeged," " dimonds," " Haughyet" (for Har- 
riet), and the mild slang of a by-gone day. 

" Oh ! there's no harm in him, I am 
sure," said the Duchess, warmly ; for 
" young John" was a particular pet and 
protege of hers. " I did not mean that, 
when I said Mr. Vavasour was right. But 
old men, with young pretty wives, should 
not be above looking after them, and Mrs. 
Vavasour is more than pretty, she is 
s t rikingly b eautif ul . ' ' 

These last words were overheard by 
Margaret Town-Eden, who had declined 
dancing that particular dance, and was 
come to nestle under her mother's wing 
(chaperons were something more than 
a name then), and, like a sharp in- 
strument, they seemed to cut into her 
brain. 



king's baynaed. 115 

" Strikingly beautiful !" and, in speaking 
of her, she knew that her most ardent 
admirer had never soared higher in the 
realms of compliment than to call her 
" a pretty girl." She turned over in her 
mind all her school-girl confidences, with 
regard to remarks that had been made 
on her own personal charms ; and, to 
be candid, we must admit that the one 
she referred to most frequently was one 
which Mr. Baynard was reported to have 
made on seeing her on horseback for the 
first time. " How pretty Miss Town-Eden 
looks in a hat !" had been his casual remark 
to a friend of Margaret's ; and these words, 
repeated with a significance with which 
they had not been spoken, formed the 
foundation stone for a pretty castle in 
the air, which that night's inauspicious 
events were now cruelly dispelling. Poor 
Margaret would have been content to be 
plain to all the rest of the world, if she 

I 2 



116 king's baynaed. 

could only have been " strikingly beautiful " 
for him. 

Now, under this new basilisk influence, 
her beauty-laurels were fading away, and 
all her little world of subjects and ad- 
herents were forsaking her cause and 
standard. JSTo one is half sorry enough 
for the beauty of last season, whose star 
is going down, paled by the brighter rays 
of a newer and more dazzling planet. It 
must be a moment of keen enjoyment to 
a girl, with a woman's heart beating in her 
breast, when she first discovers the fact 
that she is beautiful ; one full of bitterness, 
when she feels intuitively, that her success- 
ful rival is more beautiful or more successful 
than herself. 

Margaret Town-Eden had hitherto 
reigned supreme, and now a fairer woman 
than she, was robbing her of her crown 
and sceptre, and winning away her ad- 
herents one by one. It was wrong of 



king's baystabd. 117 

her, she thought, in the bitterness of her 
wounded vanity a married woman and a 
bride, to care about dancing like a very girl, 
and to monopolise the best partner in the 
room. It was wrong and cruel of him to 
forget his engagement of such long stand- 
ing with herself, and to see nothing but 
the allurements of those basilisk eyes, 
belonging to the wife of another. As 
she watched the graceful movements of 
Mrs. Vavasour in the dance, the eyes of 
the two met for a moment, and, on one 
side, at least, were as quickly withdrawn. 
Margaret blushed deeply as she turned 
away her head, ostensibly to address 
some remark to her mother, while 
Mrs. Vavasour observed to " young- 
John," 

" Who is that very pretty girl, and why 
is she not dancing?" 

For the first time that night, Mrs. 
Vavasour's partner perceived that Miss 



118 king's baynaed. 

Town-Eden was in the room, and, with 
a heightened colour, he exclaimed, 

"It's Margaret Town-Eden, and I was 
engaged to open the ball with her. What 
a brute she must have thought me not to 
be here in time." 

Mrs. Vavasour looked as if she could 
have found it in her heart to agree y 
with the tenor of this remark. Had she 
been aware that Mr. Baynard's defalcation 
was caused by his awaiting her own arrival 
in a draughty passage, in order to be 
the first of the stewards to do homage to 
the beautiful stranger, her womanly vanity 
might have induced her to judge leniently 
of the offence. As it was she only said : 

" I am surprised that so pretty a girl 
should be allowed to sit down for one 
dance even ; amongst all these dowagers, 
she looks like a living rosebud in a bowl of 
dead leaves." 

" What a charming simile]! I must 



king's baynard. 119 

repeat that to her presently; if, indeed, 
she will have anything to say to me, 
after such inexcusable forgetfulness. I 
think, however, our friendship will stand 
the test, and that she will forgive my 
shortcomings." 

" She will be very good-natured if she 
does ; it is not the sort of offence, Mr. 
Baynard, that women are apt to for- 
give." 

" I suppose I must not plead the ir- 
resistible nature of my temptation." 

" Certainly not," said Ninon gaily, 
" you must think of some better excuse 
to offer. I fear your case is a bad one." 

The quadrille was over, and Mr. Bay- 
nard resigned his partner into the hands 
of her husband. The latter appeared to 
have got over the feeling of jealousy or 
pain with which he had at first regarded 
him, for, laying his hand kindly on his 
shoulder, he said : 



120 king's baynaed. 

" We are glad to have you amongst us ; 
King's Baynard has been too long deserted 
by the lords of the soil." 

" It has, indeed," was the reply. " It is 
a glorious old place, barring the ghost," 
he added, laughingly addressing Mrs. Va- 
vasour, " and that makes a point of howl- 
ing every windy night, making the darkness 
hideous; but, like all ghost-seers, I am 
wonderfully brave in the morning." 

" We are near neighbours — you must 
come over to us when the ghost is trouble- 
some," Mr. Vavasour said; but his man- 
ner had changed again, and was colder 
than was usual when he gave an invitation 
to his hospitable mansion. 

"You must go and make your peace," 
Mrs. Vavasour suggested, with a grace- 
ful bow of dismissal and a glance in 
the direction of Margaret Town-Eden, 
who was paying eager attention to 
the remarks addressed to her by the most 



king's baynakd. 121 

distmgue-lookmg man in the room, with 
the exception of the heir of King's Bay- 
nard. 

"It is too late, I fear ; the young lady 
appears to be better engaged, and I shall 
only be treated " 

" As you deserve," said Mrs. Vavasour, 
finishing the sentence for him. "You 
must make the amende honorable by 
placing yourself at her mercy at ouce." 

"Young John" was hastening to obey 
these commands, and to calm the qualms 
of his own wounded conscience, for he 
was too much of a " gentle knighte " not 
to feel that he had behaved, as he ex- 
pressed it, "like a brute" in the matter. 
He was too late, as v he had anticipated. 
Margaret Town- Ed en was a proud as well 
as a pretty girl. She merely recognised 
his approach by a bow so haughty that it 
sealed his lips ; and placing her hand at 
once within the arm of the new candidate 



122 king's baynard. 

for her smiles, she left " young John " to 
" chew the cud M of remorse for the slight 
he had put upon one who well knew how 
to resent ifc. 



123 



CHAPTER VI. 

GOING- home after a ball is, in any case, 
but a dreary proceeding ; but after a 
country ball, when the roads are bad, and 
the horses precious and old, it is, perhaps, 
one of the most trying evils to which 
humanity subjects itself, in its frenzied 
pursuit after pleasure. Excitement over, 
in the case of the young spirits of the 
party, and weariness at its climax in the 
case of the old, the inherent selfishness of 
the human heart manifests itself in sundry 
ways, according to the peculiar tempera- 
ment or infirmity of the party con- 
cerned. 

The father of a family of blooming daugh- 



124 king's baynard. 

ters, who has been dragged from his arm- 
chair on a bitter mid- winter night, in 
order (as his good wife told him before he 
started) to " do his duty by the girls, and 
give them the same advantages which 
other young people enjoy," with the dread 
of bronchitis before him, pulls up all the 
windows, and before they are a mile on 
the road begins to snore audibly. ■ His 
youngest daughter who sits opposite to 
him, feverish and restless after the excite- 
ment of her first ball, longs to kick her 
aggravating parent with her blistered feet, 
which are throbbing in their satin prisons, 
in their cramped and uncomfortable posi- 
tion. The eldest daughter, not so pretty 
or attractive, is spared the irritation in her 
feet, but feels a proportionable amount of 
asperity in the region of her temper. She 
is wondering in her own mind what people 
see so particularly engaging in Maggie 
Town-Eden, and ends by assuring herself 



king's baynaed. 125 

that, for a plain girl over thirty, to go to 
a ball is worse than a crime, according to 
Prince Talleyrand's view. 

There are not many circumstances and 
situations more purgatorial, if acute phy- 
sical suffering be taken into consideration, 
than those attending the transit of a weary 
family party, in a tight family coach, ten 
or twelve miles over the hills, from the 
scene of enjoyment to the family seat. 

On the morning after the Elminster 
ball, one carriage full of heart-ache ground 
away from the doors of the county assem- 
bly room a little after two o'clock — very 
early in the country to be homeward 
bound. Poor little Margaret, like many 
a greater heroine and many a great hero, 
found her first failure a hard one to 
bear. Last year, at this season, in the 
very same ball-room, she had reigned 
proudly the queen of the revels — now she 
has been deposed, and a fairer rival has been 



126 king's baynaed. 

elected in her place. When out of the 
range of the last street-lamp, the bitter 
consciousness of this fact brought the hot 
tears to Margaret's eyes, and they fell 
silently on the feverish, impatient little 
hands, from which she had pulled the 
gloves. 

" Tired, my love ?" said Mrs. Town-Eden 
gently, taking one of the wilful hands 
into her own, in a motherly, caressing 
way. 

Margaret, however, was in no mood to 
bear even this sign of sympathy, which 
looked too much like pity ; and she thought 
her father still more more cruel, as he re- 
marked in the bantering manner peculiar 
to good-natured old gentlemen fond of a 
joke— 

" Tired ! What lassie of eighteen was 
ever tired of exhibiting on the light fastas- 
tic — eh, my dear ? Why, when I was a 
youngster, I thought nothing of riding 



king's baynakd. 127 

forty miles to a ball. Gently, John ! 
gently," he added, banging down the win- 
dow, and apostrophising the coachman; 
" remember the mare's not so young as 
she was, by a good deal — there's no occa- 
sion to drive so fast." 

" Let us get on, my dear," said the kind 
mother, who had seen the little by-play 
between her daughter and " young John," 
and who knew what it was costing her. 
" I'm tired, if Margaret is not." 

" I don't know what's the matter with 
you both," said the old squire, now rather 
put upon his mettle ; " I never had a mo- 
ment's peace until I promised to take 
you to this ball, and if this is all the 
thanks I get, hang me I if go to an- 
other !" 

" I "have a headache, papa," Maggie said 
apologetically ; a heartache would have 
been nearer the truth — but no doubt her 
head was aching, too, with the sharp, 



128 



KING S BAYNARD. 



stinging throb of a first sorrow. Her life 
bad, hitherto, been a bright and joyous one 
— nature and circumstances had been 
bountiful in their gifts, and no care had 
darkened the landscape. The little cloud 
had now arisen, and she had experienced 
the bitterness of a slight in a quarter in 
which it had great power to wound. It 
was no quarrel, no lover's pique, that 
would have been comparatively easy to 
bear. It was the shadow of indifference 
that had come between her and one who 
had unconsciously become all in all to Mar- 
garet Town-Eden. He had been evidently 
so dazzled by the splendour of the proud 
southern beauty, that he had had no eyes, 
no ears, no thought, no consideration for 
any one else in the room. 

To show how nearly Margaret missed be- 
coming the heroine of this tale, and to pre- 
sent the sketch of an episode in one young 
life which happens daily to some member of 



king's baynaed. 129 

the community, the attention of the reader 
has been enlisted in her behalf before he 
passes on to busier and more exciting 
scenes. 

But perhaps we hear the fair reader 
exclaim, " Were Margaret's affections be- 
stowed unsought ? and was the hero whom 
you have described as the soul of honour 
and chivalry, guiltless in the matter ?" 
Of all but thoughtlessness and total un- 
consciousness of his own attractive qualities 
— yes. Mr. Baynard had neither flirted 
with Miss Town-Eden, nor trifled with her 
affections. He had been thrown much into 
her society, and had paid her the natural 
homage which an ardent, chivalrous, manly 
nature considers due to a young and beau- 
tiful woman, not unkindly inclined towards 
itself. 

" Young John " was too free from 
conceit, to discover how dangerous this 
innocent gallantry became to the peace of 

VOL. I. K 



130 king's baynakd. 

mind of one of the parties concerned, for, 
as regarded himself, there did not exist 
a particle of sentiment in the friendly 
feelings which he entertained for Mar- 
garet, in common with the rest of her 
family. It was a hard and unjust judg- 
ment, therefore, which Mrs. Town-Eden 
had pronounced, when she called him 
a great flirt; but we know she was suf- 
fering through the wounded feelings of 
her child, therefore we must, on our side, 
excuse this outbreak of maternal warmth. 
No outsider can tell, when two young 
people are constantly thrown together, 
how much, or how little, has passed be- 
tween them in the way of exchange of 
sentiment, which is the only real basis of 
flirtation. Those who are themselves 
given to this fascinating but dangerous 
pastime know to a nicety when an intimate 
acquaintanceship becomes a sentimental 
one, and when, with the greatest apparent 



king's baynaed. 131 

unity of tastes or intellect, the Rubicon 
lias never been passed. That Mr. Bay- 
nard had had no intention of passing 
that Rubicon, with regard to Margaret 
Town-Eden, a less anxiously interested 
observer than a mother would have dis- 
covered at once. The world's opinion 
upon the subject would probably have 
been the same as that of the ill-natured 
old lady who shook her head ominously 
when the handsome pair rode side by 
side through the village, after a bril- 
liant run with the Derefordshire fox- 
hounds. 

" If Mrs. Town-Eden doesn't look out," 
she observed, " she'll have Margaret 
breaking her heart for that young John 
Baynarcl, for it's easy to see with half 
an eye that he means nothing, my 
dear." 

It was easy, perhaps, for a casual or 
cynical observer to perform the singular 

I. E 



132 king's baynard. 

optical gymnastic described, but difficult, 
very difficult, for pretty Margaret, the one 
most vitally interested in the matter, to 
see with her blue eyes wide open, whether 
he " meant anything, my dear," or whether 
he did not. 

It is not the problems upon the solu- 
tion of which depends our happiness, or 
its opposite, upon which we bring to 
bear the clear-sightedness, and the sound 
judgment, which we exercise with regard 
to the same problems applied to the in- 
terests and happiness of others. Mar- 
garet in the instance, in point, wished 
to believe that Mr. Baynard' s friendly 
regard for her was ripening into affec- 
tion; and, therefore, she did believe 
it. In this unwise precipitancy, she 
was encouraged and abetted by a lively 
young friend and schoolfellow, who re- 
peated in her willing ears all the compli- 
ments or flattering speeches he had ever 



king's baynard. 133 

made in her hearing upon the subject of 
Margaret's beauty, and numerous accom- 
plishments. 

Margaret, no doubt, was rash in the 
matter, and her friend silly ; but there are 
assailable points, perhaps, in stronger 
natures than those of these foolish children 
— for after all, they were nothing more. 

The fire of a deep set grey eye, the 
graceful poise of a comely head, the 
winning smile upon a well-chiselled 
lip, are of course ridiculous things to 
compare with the idols of maturer age. 
.What are the childish trials of the affec- 
tions compared with those to which we are 
subject, who cut our wise teeth some ten 
or twenty years ago ? with such important 
matters as the rise or fall of the Funds — 
with the extravagance of the son at the 
University — with the long milliner's bill, 
which came by this morning's post — with 
baby's whooping-cough or Edith's crooked 



134 king's batnaed. 

teeth? How nobly superior, we, who 
suffer under such anxieties as these facts 
entail, can look down upon the poor 
anxious little heart, trying to solve for 
itself the enigma, the answer to which 
was so palpable to the cynical eye. 

It had been the question of Margaret's 
life for some time, whether the young 
heir of King's Baynard regarded her with 
warmer feelings than those with which he 
regarded the rest of the world, and it had 
been answered as we have seen above. 
No wonder, then, that she was tired and 
out of mood for the Squire's good- 
humoured but rather clumsy raillery ; or 
that she was glad when the carriage drew 
up, which it did at last, with a jerk, at 
the lodge gate, thereby precipitating the 
worthy man almost into the lap of his 
wife, who, seated opposite to him, had 
been in the hazy land of dreams also; 
although those of the matron were natu- 



king's baynaed. 135 

rally of a less romantic and more practical 
character than those of the young daugh- 
ter at her side. She too, however, had 
been attending in imagination the funeral 
obsequies of a new-born hope. That hope 
which has been powerfully described as 
"the dream of a man awake," had just ex- 
pired within her matronly arms; for she 
saw as plainly as Margaret had done, that 
Mr. Baynard meant nothing, according to 
the accepted understanding of the phrase, 
in the eyes of the world. 

Her thoughts, too, had reverted to old 
times, when at an Elminster ball Mabel 
Trevylian had won the beauty laurels from 
her, in the same triumphant manner in 
which Mrs. Vavasour had won and worn 
them in the face of all that nio-ht. 

She remembered how Sir Marmaduke 
Baynard, then a gay young baronet, 
newly come to the Hall, had devoted 
himself amono- others to that blooming co- 



136 king's baynard. 

quette, after having carried on a syste- 
matic flirtation of some weeks with another 
of the prettiest girls in the county. There 
had been more than one dowager, indeed, 
and more than one matron at the ball that 
night, to whom the well-known name, and 
the presence among them of King's Bay- 
nard's heir, had brought back the vision 
of the " long ago," when the father of the 
young man had run amongst them his brief 
but rollicking career, and had paid his uni- 
versal addresses, with the zest, for the time 
being, of a man really in earnest, wearing 
the hearts of the beauties of that day like 
impaled butterflies on his sleeve. It had 
been agreed amongst the " old loves," in 
solemn conclave, that the wicked young 
knight who had " loved and ridden away" 
from them years before, had not possessed 
the handsome countenance and noble bear- 
ing of his son, " young John," and the 
question had revived with something >of 



king's baynard. 137 

its former interest, " And who was Lady 
Baynard?" with reference to the first wife, 
every one knew too well the history and 
antecedents of the second. 

Perhaps the halo of mystery which sur- 
rounded all his belongings, made the heir 
himself more interesting to the women- 
kind, who conspired to spoil and idolize 
him ; and who, on his side, had infused 
fresh life and vigour into the dull but 
aristocratic county clique which had re- 
quired some such mercurial element to 
keep it from sinking into the sloughs of 
ennui, from pure inertion and sluggishness 
of blood. 

Picnics, archery meetings, balls, and 
meets, all owned a staunch supporter in 
the young Squire of King's Baynard. He 
was by far the most popular man in 
the county, and Margaret had heard his 
praises sounded on every side with a 
proud blush and with a ^eating heart. 



138 king's baynard. 

He had certainly often singled her out 
as an object of his particular attention, 
both in the dance and in the field. Mar- 
garet was a perfect horsewoman, and ever 
rode with the most daring when "young 
John" was at the bridle rein of her pretty 
mare Jocuncla. It was doubly hard, there- 
fore, to be obliged to learn the unwelcome 
lesson of that night, that these gratifying 
and distinguishing attentions meant no- 
thing more than the homage of an ardent 
spirit to a young and pretty woman, 
too happy to accept them as her due. 
Tears had to be shed, and strong mur- 
murs to be made, in getting that lesson 
by heart. 

When Margaret retired to her room 
that night, which she had left in such 
joyous spirits but a few hours before, she 
felt very weary and sick at heart. When 
she approached the glass mechanically, 
during the process of undressing, per- 



king's baynabd. 139 

formed by a sleepy maid, she was as- 
tonished to see her own pale face there 
reflected, and thought it might have 
answered her waiting-maid's question 
of, " Have you had a pleasant evening, 
ma'am?" without her lips going through 
the expected form of reply. 

"Pretty well; but I am wretchedly 
tired, and you can go now." 

If no man is a hero to his valet-cle- 
chambre, no woman is a heroine to the 
maiden who tires her head, and the one in 
question proposed this mental problem for 
her own private solution, as she left her 
young mistress's room. 

" What is the good of folks werrettin' 
and ficlgettin' for a week before, about 
going to a ball, only to come back as cross 
as two sticks at last." In this remark she 
would have been borne out by the old 
squire, who made a solemn vow under his 
tasselled night- cap, and with his downy 



140 king's baynaed. 

pillow to witness, that not all the wiles of 
his womankind should tempt him to another 
ball this season, " for they don't seem to 
enjoy it when they get there," he said — 
and snored. 

When Margaret was left alone, she sat 
for more than an hour with slippered feet 
on the fender, and her released hair falling 
in chestnut waves upon her fair shoulders 
— dreaming about the future and regret- 
ting the past. 

" What have I done to deserve it ? I 
could not help liking him ! It was not 
wrong ?" she thought ; and then the hot 
blood rushed to her temples, as the humi- 
liating reflection came to her " but you 
were not sought — your affection was 
given unsolicited — you were too hasty in 
drawing the conclusions you wished to be 
true." 

I am bound to reveal Margaret's maiden 
meditations for two reasons ; the first, that 



king's baynard. 141 

I like upon all possible occasions to assume 
the storyteller's privilege of disclosing 
secrets ; the second, that I wish the reader 
to receive positive and conclusive testi- 
mony as to my hero's innocence in the 
matter, which could only come with 
weight from Margaret's own lips. The 
admission as coming from that source, is a 
very strong point in his favour ; for she 
was a proud girl, as well as an honest one, 
and it was a fact that stung her to the 
quick, and made the rebellious tears 
gather thick and fast, and called the hot 
flush of early youth into her lately pale 
cheeks. " I did not think it had come to 
this," she said softly to herself; "I am 
very miserable, but I have no one to 
blame but myself." I saw a little child the 
other day, of some three or four years' old, 
out of whose eager grasp a big boy had 
snatched the cherished toy. Tears rained 
down its injured face — tears half of pas- 



142 king's baynakd. 

sion and half of bitter unmitigated woe. 
Margaret's first real sorrow greatly resem- 
bled this pitiful outburst. She was too 
sorry to be very angry, but much too an- 
gry to break her heart ; hers was no meek, 
spaniel temperament, ready to fondle and 
caress the hand which offered it no spon- 
taneous return. She was very angry, 
indeed; much more angry than^ sorry, 
when she thought of the slight put upon 
herself in honour of the successful rival ; 
and her eyes shone with passion at the 
recollection of it, even through the rain- 
fall of tears which nature insisted upon, in 
liquidation of the severe tax levied upon 
her that night. 

Margaret would have shrunk from the 
avowed expression of sympathy, if it had 
taken the shape of pity, from the heart 
nearest to her own ; but she felt intuitively 
that her mother had known what she was 
suffering, when she had said with such 



king's baynahd. 143 

gentle solicitude, " tired my love ?" She 
loved and blessed her for it heartily in the 
silence of her morning solitude. " She 
knows it," she thought to herself. " I have 
often fancied she must have had a romance 
of her own — for I do not think she can 
have been in love with papa ; people seem 
to get on very well in the world without it. 
I do not know that a Darby and Joan 
hum-drum sort of life is altogether to be 
despised after all." Rather a practical un- 
romantic sort of finis, to poor Margaret's 
book of dreams, and rather an ignoble 
view of the importance of domestic love 
in the great scheme of human happiness 
upon earth; but youth is the age of ex- 
tremes, and the airy fabric of hope once 
annihilated, there often appears in its 
place a red brick mansion, substantial, 
roomy, comfortable, with little grandeur 
or pretence about it — the abode of com- 
mon-place. 



144 king's baynard. 

Thus it fell out that the two first public 
appearances of the beautiful Mnon, in her 
new neighbourhood, had told upon the fate 
of the girl whose beauty had attracted 
her on the night of the ball at the Elmins- 
ter Assembly Rooms. If " young John " 
had not caught a glimpse of her own 
statuesque profile, at the carriage window 
on the Saturday before, he would not have 
been so engrossed with the idea of behold- 
ing it again, as to forget his carelessly 
made engagement a month before. If 
he had danced with Margaret that even- 
ing, as he had intended to do, some 
word or look of hers might have betrayed 
to him the secret which, as it turned out, 
he was never to know. Had that secret 
been by any chance suspected by one who 
was the soul of honour, Margaret's whole 
fate might have been changed. 

So does it often happen in the world's 
highway ; we miss the path by one step, 



king's baynaed. 145 

which leads to happiness — the happiness 
of our ideal — and plod steadily on the long 
straight road, where no wild flowers tempt 
us to turn aside and gather them, and no 
grateful spreading shade to pause upon 
our way and rest. The intimate friend- 
ship which had existed hitherto between 
" young John " and the family of the 
Town-Edens was broken off at this point ; 
there was an uncomfortable feeling of 
coldness between them, which the former 
was far from attributing to the real 
cause. 



VOL. I. 



146 



CHAPTER VII. 

" Open, candid, and generous, his heart was the con- 
stant companion of his hand, and his tongue the artless 
index of his mind." — canning. 

IF "young John" was beloved in the 
county, he was idolized at home. 
From the idiot boy at the gate, to 
Talbot, the patriarch of the court-yard, 
there was not an individual on the estate 
who would not have sacrificed his most 
valued possession, if, in doing so, he could 
have added an additional blessing to those 
already showered upon the young and 
prosperous heir. He had, indeed, a kind 
Avord and a ready smile for every living 
creature in or about his beloved King's 
Baynard. That love had enlarged, beau- 



king's baynard. 147 

tified and softened his whole nature, so 
that he might have been described, like 
one of history's heroes, in language which 
appears to be the essence of simple no- 
bility : " Only for the general good, 
and against the wrongful oppressor; for 
kindness alone, and busy purposes, and 
affections to those around him, the 
irrepressible ardour of his temper re- 
mained." 

That irrepressible ardour of tempera- 
ment had found an object on which to 
expend itself, and a centre to which to 
attract natures less ardent and less as- 
piring than itself. The possession of it 
is the secret of popularity ; the redundant 
life, belonging to such a temper, gives 
itself out in rays which are like the rays 
of the sun, glorifying and euriching every 
object upon which they fall. Popularity 
has a good influence upon such a temper. 
It had a good and a softening effect on the 

i, 2 



148 king's baynard. 

young heir, to whom it was very sweet 
to find himself generally beloved. His 
position was a peculiar and a difficult 
one, and one as well calculated to test 
the purity or baseness of the metal in 
which its occupier was cast, as could well 
be imagined. 

The wise man has said, " The glory 
of a man is from the honour of his father, 
and a mother in dishonour is a reproach 
to her children." The heir of King's 
Baynard belonged to, and was in a mea- 
sure the representative of a house the 
glory of which had been tarnished, and 
whose name disgraced, through and in 
his father, the voluntary exile ; and dim- 
mer and more shadowy still was the veiled 
spot in the backward vista of time, where 
lay enshrined the image of the young and 
beautiful woman of whom rumour itself 
had nothing but the wildest suggestions to 
make. 



king's batnabd. 149 

There was one fact, however, patent 
to all observers, that the shadow of the 
family disgrace could never fall, under 
any circumstances, upon him. Nature 
does occasionally set this stamp of inborn 
nobility on her favourites, and as the 
greatest proof I can give of the sharp- 
ness and clearness of the impression with 
which she had set her seal on the 
fine countenance of " young John," I 
need only assure my readers who are 
sportsmen (and I hope I have many 
such) that in dealings with regard to the 
noble animal which so often lead to ig- 
noble results, he was to be trusted im- 
plicitly. Men took his simple word upon 
the merits or demerits of a horse of 
his own for sale, as gospel truth, and 
can I say more for the purity of his 
honour than this ? 

A specimen of his mode of horse- 
dealing will give this side of his character 



150 king's baynabd. 

in its true colours ; we take the first 
instance that conies to hand. 

On the morning after the ball at El- 
minster, Mr. Baynard was at home, 
transacting some business in that branch 
of merchandise, over which it is con- 
stantly asserted that the closest ties 
of friendship or relationship can cast no 
softening spell. To speak plain English, 
lie was exhibiting a horse for sale, and 
under rather peculiar circumstances ; the 
buyer, in this instance, being his own 
worst enemy, and doing his best to in- 
duce the seller to victimize him on his 
own responsibility, as will be seen from 
the following conversation. 

" Lead him up and down, Saunders," 
said the seller, as a splendid looking 
chestnut horse, that shone brazen in the 
sun, was led out into the stable-yard, 
" lead him up and down, and let the gen- 
tleman have a look at him." 



king's baynard. 151 

The gentleman in question was a raw 
youth, just appointed to a Dragoon 
regiment, who flattered himself that he 
was a better judge of horseflesh than 
his colonel, to whom " paterfamilias " 
wished to transfer the responsibility of 
the choice of a charger. Anxious to 
forestall this arrangement, and very sweet 
upon the famous chestnut, whose per- 
formances in the hunting-field had earned 
him a wide renown, he chose to ignore 
the fact of the dangerous and untamed 
temper of the animal, which had often 
placed in jeopardy the life of the heaven- 
born horseman, which John Bayriard 
was. 

Orion, indeed, was as notorious, for his 
vicious propensities, as the strawberry 
roan of happy memory, to which the 
rector of King's Baynard had been in- 
debted for his sudden and unlooked-for 
promotion in the church. But a more 



152 king's baynaed. 

magnificent horse, as to shape, symmetry, 
and action, could not have been found; 
and as he stood in the stable-yard like 
an image, shapely and grand, with his 
clean-cut nostril snuffing the morning 
air, the youth beheld the realization of 
his idea with regard to the Bucephalus 
on which he wished to make his debut 
in the well-mounted regiment he was 
shortly to join. 

" What an arm ! what a crest ! what 
a picture altogether !" exclaimed the in- 
cipient dragoon, proclaiming his inexpe- 
rience by lauding the animal he was so 
anxious to buy. " He'll make a splendid 
charger," he went on, gnawing the head 
of his silver-mounted riding- whip. 

He was very sweet on the chestnut 
horse Orion, who stood in the stable- 
yard, calm but defiant, with that sort 
of preoccupied air which is rather com- 
mon with dangerous horses, as though 



king's baynahd. 153 

he disdained to bestow any attention on 
the insignificant biped man, until called 
upon to try his strength with him in real 
earnest. 

" That's exactly what he won't do," 
answered the dealer, " he'll never make 
a charger. If you want a charger, 1 
cannot conscientiously recommend Orion 
to your notice ; you don't know what his 
temper is when it's up." 

" I can't afford to buy a horse that 
won't make a charger," said the cornet, 
"not a horse of that figure, at least; 
and as to his temper, that's much the 
same, I suppose, for one man as an- 
other." 

" I don't recommend you by any 
means to buy him," answered Mr. Bay- 
nard, taking no notice of the tone of 
pique in which the last sentence had been 
given. "I'd rather you gave me a hun- 
dred for old Senator, than pick your pocket 



154 king's baynabd. 

of two for the chestnut, because I'm posi- 
tive he would not suit. Your colonel 
would not thank me, I am sure, for send- 
ing a bolter into the regiment." 

" Senator's not sound," was the sulky 
and thankless reply. 

" If he were, you might add another 
hundred to his price, and call him cheap 
at that. I don't want you to buy Senator, 
but I won't sell you the chestnut. I tell 
you honestly, you could never make a 
charger of him. I am parting with him, 
myself, because he's a dangerous horse 
at his fences, when he's sulky. No one 
can beat him when he means going, or 
I should not have kept him as long as I 
have." 

" He's not so hot as he wur, Mr. John, 
by a great deal," said Saunders, the groom, 
who saw no reason why his master should 
not land the flat who was so persistently 
seeking the net. 



king's batnaed. 155 

" He's too hot for me, at times ; that's 
all I know abs>ut it. He's given me a 
fall or two lately, that would have broken 
every bone in your body," he added 
laughingly, turning to the mortified 
youth, whose physique was of that limp, 
flaccid nature which suggests to the imag- 
inative mind a gutta-percha ball from 
which the air has escaped. 

" I'm not going to buy Senator, if 
that's what you mean," was the youngster's 
surly reply. 

Any one who knows what it is to have 
in his stables a beloved brute, in which, 
under circumstances the most hostile, he 
is certain to have a good day — who is the 
"lucky horse" who has carried him gal- 
lantly, advised him sagaciously, borne with 
him patiently, and triumphed with him glo- 
riously times without end — who is the 
friend of his heart, the jewel without price, 
a screw of the first water — will know 



156 king's baynabd. 

whether " young John" was likely under 
any circumstances to endeavour to plant 
Senator on the young cornet, so anxious 
to be done, and for whom he had offered 
to make a real sacrifice. 

" My good fellow," he said drily, " I 
could sell the chestnut to you much more 
to my advantage, than I could the other 
horse ; but he would be worse than useless 
to you, and I could not let you have him 
under the circumstances. He is worth 
the price I ask for him to a dealer, but not 
to you." 

"Take him in, Saunders," and "ware 
heels," he added, as Orion made a spiteful 
demonstration in the direction of the dis- 
comfited cornet, who went back crest-fallen 
and with wrath in his heart against the 
dealer in horseflesh who had proved so 
unamenable to his views. 

This was the way Mr. Baynard had 
of horse- dealing, a proof that he was honest 



king's batnaed. 157 

and honourable to the core ; for there was 
not a man in Derefordshire who had a bet- 
ter eye for a horse, or a better seat, or a 
greater instinctive insight into the sterling 
qualities that make a horse valuable than 
he had ; nor was there one upon whose 
judgment in the matter men were 
more ready to rely, or whose advice they 
were more apt to ask in any question of 
difficulty or perplexity. 

" He's one of the right sort," they said ; 
and the honour of the old house did appear 
to be rising from the ashes of the 
past. 

The stables at King's Baynard were, 
perhaps, at that time the most habitable- 
looking portion of the pile of buildings, 
which succeeding generations of Baynards 
had heaped up in heterogeneous confusion, 
leaving the stamp of individual identity 
on each separate mass. There were six 
hunters in the loose boxes, and two har- 



158 king's baynard. • 

ness horses in the stalls. The hunters 
were Orion and Senator; old Senator as 
he was lovingly called, more from the 
amount of service done than on account 
of the years that had passed over his head, 
and Lady Di, and Kangaroo, and Brown 
Kate, and Mohawk, the last a powerful 
brown horse with the courage of a lion, 
and the temper of a dove ; while each and 
every one was noted for some peculiar 
quality or merit, which gave them first 
rank, and their owner the first place 
among the hard riding squires of sport- 
ing Derefordshire. These peerless animals 
were worthily housed in the magnificent 
stables which had been built by our hero's 
grandfather, when he married the hapless 
lady in green, whose well filled coffers 
had contributed handsomely to that, and 
many another equally expensive whim of 
her husband, Sir Mark. Adjoining to them 
were the kennels, where the boiling of 



king's batnaed. 159 

the poor lady's-lap clog had taken place, 
and which had been tenanted at that time 
by a pack of sturdy beagles, the pride of 
the baronet's heart. The pack had not 
been kept np by Sir Marmaduke, his 
successor, the only one of his race who had 
ignored the pleasures of the field; and 
"young John's" handsome bat not unlimi- 
ted income would not admit of his seeing 
them occupied, as he would have wished, 
by worthy descendants of the once famous 
Baynard pack. 

" I can follow hounds, if I cannot keep 
them," he would exultingly say, when 
one of the neighbouring farmers would 
twit him with this symptom of decay in 
the sporting prestige of the Hall ; and 
they would shake their ponderous sides 
with laughter, as they replied, 8< No doubt 
of that, Mr. John, as well as the best of 
them, as well as the best." 

They followed the example of his 



160 king's baynaed. 

immediate dependants, and, as the reader 
will observe, preferred the more familiar 
title to the one to which our hero was en- 
titled, and addressed him as "Mr. John." 

The library and the room next to it, 
were the ones which had been prepared 
for the heir on his arrival at the Hall. The 
greater part of the old straggling building 
was shut up, and had become a prey to 
cobwebs and to devouring dust. 

Up and down those lonely, deserted 
rooms, the saloon and the ball-room, the 
withdrawing rooms, the long corridors 
and gloomy passages, the ghosts of the 
dead Baynards might have wandered un- 
molested at their will. There was no one 
to dispute their right, or to mingle with 
their ghostly revels, in the deserted cham- 
bers sacred to the memory of the past. 
That ill-conditioned spirits were occasion- 
ally heard to howl and shriek about the 
building at night, " young John " often 



king's baynabd. 161 

asserted, as we have heard him do to 
Mr. Vavasour on the night of the Elmin- 
ster ball ; but he always said it in a manner 
that might have been taken either for jest 
or earnest, and so perhaps he meant that 
it should. There was a tinge of supersti- 
tion in his own nature, and it was possible 
that he did not altogether discredit the 
legend of the Baynard ghost. 

"Whether he knew aught of the curse 
which had blighted the later fortunes of 
his ancient house, it was impossible to tell. 
The heir had fallen from the clouds, as 
it were, into his noble inheritance, and 
stood absolutely alone, with regard to all 
ties either to the past or the present ; or 
to any source from which he could obtain 
information respecting the history of his 
immediate predecessors. That he was not 
aware of the tragedy in winch his grand- 
father, Sir Mark, had been the principal 
actor, those who knew him gathered from 

VOL. I. M 



162 king's baynard. 

his having himself singled out the spot 
which went by the name of Mark's Bush, 
as a place of meeting for the Derefordshire 
fox-hounds. It was a place of which people 
would have spoken shyly and under their 
breath to the heir of King's Baynard, if he, 
with the majesty of innocence, had not 
taken the initiative and proclaimed it in 
public, as the most eligible place on the 
estate. 

The Bush itself, which had obtained such 
an unenviable notoriety in the neighbour- 
hood, was a thorn in which the song- 
thrushes sang sweetly in the spring time ; 
and it stood in an angle of a cover of gorse 
and at the meeting of four different roads. 

"What do they call this place?" Mr. 
Baynard had inquired of the keeper as he 
introduced him to the beauties of his 
wide domain. 

" It is called < Mark's Bush,' Mr. John," 
was the lowly muttered reply; and had 



163 

the inventive faculties of old Simon been in 
working order, there is little doubt but that 
that too notorious spot would have been 
re-christened then and there, for the bene- 
fit of the grandson of the wicked baronet. 

There was one, indeed, who was in a 
position to have put the young heir in 
possession of all the important facts that 
had occurred at King's Baynard, within the 
limits of at least half a century ; but the 
lips of that one were sealed on a subject 
that lay too deep at his heart for words. 
Mr. Trevylian, the aged rector, had lived 
a life time on the spot over which he 
firmly believed lay the shadow of a curse, 
still potent to blight and to destroy. 

" How long will it spare him — how 
long?" was the constant burden and 
refrain of a mind which time had weak- 
ened, and over which was spreading a 
cloud of superstitious belief and dread, 
which a long residence amongst people 

m 2 



164 king's baynakt). 

and things connected by a train of gloomy 
associations with the past, is likely to 
induce. 

The circumstance of place is one that 
has more power to mould the disposition 
and temper of our minds than we are 
always at first ready to admit. To the 
constant occupant of some low-browed 
chamber, with the relics of the past ever 
about him, and the shadow of the past 
hanging like a cloud over the material and 
palpable present, the things of time have 
an unreal and visionary aspect ; and the 
blanks of his existence are filled up with 
a hand- writing which is not his own. It 
is a keen and subtle enjoyment which an 
ideal mind derives from such surroundings, 
and from the dwellers in an unseen world, 
which haunt his imagination and make 
the past the reality, and the present the 
dream ; but like other keen enjoyments it- 
is. bought at the price of the wasting 



king's baynard. 165 

and decay of the nervous system. It had 
been so with the Rector of King's Bay- 
nard, he had lived amongst the relics of 
the past, until the past became more to 
him than either the present or the future. 

" Such tricks hath strong imagination, 
That if it would but apprehend some joy- 
It comprehends some bringer of that joy : 
Or in the night imagining some fear, 
How easy is a bush supposed a bear. 
But all the story of the night told over, 
And all their minds transfigured so together, 
More witnesseth than fancy's images, 
And grows to something of great constancy ; 
But, howsoever, strange, and admirable." 



'5^ 



A rooted conviction in the potency and 
relentless nature of the curse that hung 
over the doomed house of King's Baynard, 
and to which he believed that every in^ 
dividual member of it, must in the end 
succumb, saddened the heart of Mr. 
Trevylian every time he looked upon the 
face of the voung heir, whom he loved as 



166 king's baynaed. 

though he had been his own son. " It 
must spare him — it shall spare him," he 
would repeat over and over again to 
himself, after one of the almost daily visits 
which " young John" paid him at the 
Rectory ; but often as he repeated the 
sentence, he could not bring himself to 
believe that it would be so. He had seen 
the fatal curse worked out, again and 
again, in his own time, and he could not 
shake off the conviction so natural to the 
human mind, that what has been, will be 
again, and so on for evermore. 

However, he had kept these forebodings 
secret in his own heart, and had exerted 
himself to prove something of a com- 
panion to the young man who, on his 
part, looked up to the Rector with the 
most affectionate esteem. They had much 
in common — the wide field of classics, and 
the open book of nature, were dear to 
both of them, and like the cry of the 



king's batnabd. 167 

hounds to an old hunter, came the roll of 
the sonorous languages of the dead upon 
the appreciative ear of one of the best 
scholars of the day. In his early youth 
Mr. Trevylian had distinguished himself 
at the university and earned classical 
honours ; in his athletic youth he had 
given up to a great extent his intellectual 
pursuits and become, as we have seen, 
more of a sportsman than a student; so 
that in his old age he could enter into 
the pleasures of the field, or sympathize 
with the literary tastes of one between 
whom and himself, at first sight, time 
would have appeared to have placed an 
insurmountable barrier. 

On the morning after the ball at Elmin- 
ster, the attempt at horse-dealing, on the 
part of the cornet, having concluded as we 
have seen, it had been Mr. Baynard's 
intention to ride over to Killerton — the seat 
of the Town-Edens — in order, if possi- 



168 KING'S BAYNARD. 

ble, to make his peace with Margaret. But 
fate was impropitious to the poor girl in 
every way, and interfered again between 
her and the happiness she had once be- 
lieved to be near at hand ; for as Saunders 
was engaged in the somewhat perilous 
task of saddling the chestnut, there arrived, 
from the Rectory hard by, a young 
and breathless messenger, who, pulling 
his forelock to the squire, alarmed him 
with the intelligence that the Eector had 
been taken with a stroke, and that he had 
only just sufficiently recovered to make 
the doctor understand that he wished to 
see Mr. Baynard at once. 

The young man, full of concern for 
nis dear old friend, hastened to obey the 
summons ; and the ride to Killerton was 
postponed, for that day at least. Upon 
his arrival at the Rectory he was met 
by the housekeeper, who had lived 
in Mr. Trevylian's service for the fifty 



king's baynard. 169 

years that had seen him rector of King's 
Baynard. 

" Will you be pleased to step into the 
study, Sir," she said ; " the master's doz- 
ing now, but he never sleeps long; and 
may be," she added humbly, for the Bay- 
nards of each succeeding generation had 
ever been great, if not good, in her estima- 
tion, " may be you'll bide till he wakes." 

" That I will," was the reply; "pray 
do not think of disturbing your master. 
I will wait as long as you like." 

The study was a dear, old-fashioned 
room, furnished with oak carvings, the 
work of the Rector himself. The windows 
looked over the trim and closely mown 
lawn, bounded by a yew hedge, in which 
gaps had been cut to afford peeps of the 
richly wooded uplands of the Baynard 
deer-park. But the tasteful hand of 
Amabel, Lady Baynard, had stopped 
short at the Rectory gates; and there 



170 king's baynabd. 

was nothing beautiful about the arrange- 
ment of the shrubberies and gardens, 
although both were suggestive of order 
and comfort. In the furniture and de- 
corations of the study itself, might have 
been read the epitome of the old man's life. 
On the table, from which he had not 
long risen when attacked by the para- 
lytic seizure, lay an open Bible and a 
pair of spectacles. The last stage had 
found him in harness, and affliction had 
bowed the spirit which in youth had 
led him into extravagancies unworthy of 
his holy calling. In these are not in- 
cluded the athletic and manly sports 
of fishing, shooting, cricketing, or hunt- 
ing, of which many tokens were displayed 
on the walls of the study, while piled to- 
gether in dark corners were hunting-whips, 
fishing-rods, gun-cases, cricket-bats, and 
other appliances of the field and chase, 
speaking of an active out-door life. The 



king's baynakd. 171 

walls were adorned, also, with many a 
curious ornithological specimen, for a su- 
perior education, combined with great 
powers of observation, had made Mr. 
Trevylian what few men of his age were, 
a naturalist as well as a sportsman. 

The titles of the books which the carved 
oak book-shelves contained, proclaimed 
their possessor more in the light of a 
classical scholar than of a profound divine. 
Mr. Trevylian, indeed, as might be ima- 
gined, had never gone deeply into the 
study of theology, and the deep feeling 
of religion which then pervaded his life, 
was the religion of the heart rather than 
the intellect ; of the heart softened by 
adversity into the close communionship 
with its Creator, and brought by in-dwel- 
ling conviction to the truth which no mere 
dogmatical teaching could have so deeply 
instilled. 

Besides the books there were pictures ; 



172 king's baynard. 

and Mr. Baynard found plenty of objects 
of interest to beguile the half-hour, 
'during which he waited for his old friend 
to awake from the stupor, rather than 
doze, into which he had fallen. A crayon 
picture of Mrs. Trevylian, of which the 
eyes, cheeks, and hair only were tinted 
with colour, bore witness to the sweetness 
of a face which the most depraved style of 
art could not entirely spoil ; but the prin- 
cipal picture in the room, and the one 
which immediately attracted the whole 
attention of Mr. Baynard, was a full 
length portrait of a young and beautiful 
girl, which smiled at the beholder with 
subtle coquetry from under a soft cloud of 
richly-tinted auburn hair. This picture 
had never been finished, neither appar- 
ently was it always exposed to view, for 
it was provided with a silken curtain, 
evidently intended to conceal it from the 
gaze of the uninterested or the vulgar. 



king's baynaed. 173 

Mr. Baynard himself, although the study 
was the room in which he had always sat 
with Mr. Trevylian, had never seen this 
picture before. It struck him very forcibly 
then, as he looked at it for the first time, as 
the embodiment of all that was beautiful in 
female face and form. The contour of the 
face was exquisite, and tenderly rounded 
in the graceful mould of youth. The 
auburn hair and hazel eyes were the 
types of a beauty more common among 
our grandmothers than ourselves, if we 
may judge from the portraits of them that 
have been handed down to posterity ; and 
the peach-like bloom of the cheeks gave a 
richness and glow to the deep browns of 
the background, as the rosy clouds at 
sunset kindle into crimson the russet of 
the' autumn landscape. There was power 
and truth in the picture, though, perhaps, 
to an artist's eye, it might have borne wit- 
ness, as far as details were concerned, to 



174 king's baynard. 

the hand of a tyro. " Young John " paid 
a tribute, indeed, to the genius of the 
painter, which nothing ungenuine or con- 
ventional could have levied from him. 
His eyes filled with tears as he gazed upon 
this relic of a buried, and, as far as the 
world was concerned, of a forgotten past. 
The beauty and the name even of Mabel 
Trevylian had passed away from her early 
home like a dream. 

It was an hour before Mr. Trevylian 
awoke. " He had not slept so long or so 
soundly since he had been taken," the 
housekeeper informed Mr. Baynard apo- 
logetically. " She was sorry," she added, 
" that he had been kept waiting so 
long." 

" Pray do not mention it," he replied, 
" I am glad that your master has been 
able to sleep before the fatigue of seeing 
me. I have been well employed in looking 
at the most beautiful face I ever saw. 



king's baynakd. 175 

Tell me, pray, is that the portrait of Mrs. 
Trevylian?" 

(i jSTo, Mr. John," was the answer, given 
under the influence of evident agitation, 
" it is a portrait of master's daughter. 
Have you never heard of Miss Mabel, Sir ? 
Maybe not, for she's well nigh forgotten in 
King's Baynard now." 

"I have known but little of the place 
until the last few months," said Mr. Bay- 
nard, " no one would have been likely to 
speak of Miss Trevylian to me, but your 
master himself, and he never does, I sup- 
pose," he added, glancing at the thick cur- 
tain as he spoke, which seemed suggestive 
of a sorrow too deep and too bitter for 
words. 

"Master has spoken of her once or 
twice since you came back, Sir ; it seems 
to bring back the old times to his mind. 
He must have been looking at the 
picture when the stroke took him, or else 



176 king's baynaed. 

the curtain would not have been drawn. 
Will you step up now, Sir ? or he'll be 
dropping off again." 

Thus "young John" was ushered, for 
the first time in his life, into the solemn 
presence of the Angel of Death. A more 
selfish or egotistical nature would have 
shrunk from exposing itself to a sensa- 
tion new, strange, and most probably 
disagreeable — and calling for the expres- 
sion of sympathy which such a nature 
finds it impossible to give. A total un- 
consciousness of self, in such a position, 
is not on the other hand incompatible with 
the instinctive self-reliance of a strong na- 
ture. Such self-reliance is rather the 
attractive force, drawing all things and 
all natures, weaker than itself, into the 
current which feeds its own depths. Self- 
consciousness is a sign of weakness that re- 
pels instead of attracting, for it is ever 
fearful of erring on the demonstrative side. 



king's baynahd. 177 

" I am grieved to find you so ill, Sir," 
said the young man, in the full prime of 
health and vigour, to one who in his own 
youth would have rivalled him in manly 
beauty, and in the symmetry of his power- 
ful and strongly-knit frame. " I had no 
notion you had been ailing, or I should 
have been here before." 

" Thank you, dear lad," replied the old 
man, in weak, broken accents, which fell 
painfully on " young John's " ear ; for 
they were the accents of the most friendly 
voice which he had ever known in the 
world. " Thank you," he repeated, as he 
tried to raise himself from the pillows, an 
action which the young man interpreted 
aright, and speedily propped him on his 
own strong arm, while he listened respect- 
fully to what he believed to be a parting ad- 
monition from the lips of the aged Eector. 

" I wanted to give you my blessing be- 
fore I go. I have been fifty years rector 

VOL. i. N 



178 king's baynaed. 

of King's Baynard, and I have seen the 
right heir at last. Do you remember my 
last sermon ? It was for you. Do not 
forget God, and He will not forget you. 
Keep yourself pure and honest in the sight 
of all men, and the glory will return to 
your house." 

He was silent for a moment or two ; 
but " young John" felt the pressure of 
the feeble fingers upon his own, and 
he grieved for the old man, as a son 
might have grieved — while the bitter tears 
gathered in his eyes, at the thought that 
even that slight pressure must soon be 
withdrawn for ever, and those feeble ac- 
cents be silenced in the grave. 

" I will remember," he uttered solemn- 
ly, and as he believed in the presence of 
death. " I take God to witness that I will 
remember your parting words, and do 
what in me lies to repair the honour of 
our house. You will take my word ?" he 



king's baynard. 179 

added, as lie touched the wrinkled hand 
with a caress that for tenderness might 
have come from a woman, " that has never 
been broken yet." 

It might have been that that gentle 
touch called up old associations in the 
bereaved husband's breast, or it might 
have been that the brain fatigued with the 
tension put upon it, sank back into a dor- 
mant state; for Mr. Trevylian's eye began 
to wander, and the past became present 
to him, while the present was as though it 
were not. This annihilation of the rules 
of time, to the soul on the brink of eter- 
nity, is one of the most remarkable 
phenomena attending that world of phe- 
nomena, the fancies of a sick man's 
brain. The impalpable past becomes pal- 
pable again, and the soul as it were goes 
before to judgment, for the deeds done 
in the fast dissolving flesh. 

"Mabel," said the old man suddenly, 

N 2 



180 king's batnaed. 

and with a voice so strong that it brought 
the nurse and housekeeper at once to his 
side., " Where is Mabel, my darling ? 
She died without my blessing. God bless 
her ! my poor child ! I forgive her with 
all my heart. My heart she broke, but 
I forgive her. ' God bless Mabel, my dar- 
ling !" 

Then wandering into another strain, he 
would address his wife — tell her it was 
" church time," and that " Sir Mark was 
coming ;" and then he would fumble 
with the sheets, and play with flowers, 
and smile upon his fingers' ends, and 
babble of green fields, as the Great Mas- 
ter hath, it, whose universal genius did, 
indeed, seem capable of grasping the 
whole circle of creation, and to paint it 
in true colours, in its every phase and 
stage. 

" Poor soul ! dear soul !" said the kind, 
weeping woman, who had nursed his only 



king's baynabd. 181 

child, and closed the eyes of his beloved 
wife. " Oh, Mr. John, I fear that he is 
very ill. He never wandered like this be- 
fore. Oh ! my dear master, what will 
King's Baynard do when you're gone ?" 

The well-known name struck upon the 
old man's ear with the power of a master 
chord; the love of the place and all belong- 
ing to it was knitted into his very being — he 
had been no unfaithful pastor in the mat- 
ter of affectionate interest and zeal, with 
regard to his parish and his parishioners. 

" King's Baynard," he said, " who 
spoke of King's Baynard ? Do you not 
know, have you not heard, that the curse 
is upon it still ?" 

The last words were hissed rather than 
spoken, in the terrible whisper which gives 
utterance to the wanderings of a brain 
diseased, well-known to those accustomed 
to attend upon beds of sickness and death ; 
but the heir started as he heard them, 



182 king's baynaed. 

for they seemed to him as the words 
of an aged prophet, and they found an 
echo in his own breast. " The curse is 
upon it still." 

This ominous sentence pronounced, the 
old man fell back so heavily on Mr. 
Baynard's supporting arm, that he believed 
he had expired in the effort of pronounc- 
ing them; but it was not so. He had 
fallen again into the stupor which the 
doctor declared to be the effect of weak- 
ness, rather than of active disease. The 
stroke, he told the nurse, had not been a 
severe one, neither had paralysis attacked 
the brain — as in that case he would have 
been bereft of speech; but he added, 
shaking his head and feeling the wrist in 
which the pulse of life was scarcely per- 
ceptible, " It is a bad case, I fear — a bad 
case." 

" There will be no change for some 
hours, Mr. John," he added, turning to 



king's baynaed. 183 

the young Squire, who was unwilling to 
leave the bedside ; " I would not deceive 
you, Sir, but I assure you you'll do more 
good to our poor friend if you go home 
now, and come back again at night. He'll 
get restless and wandering then, and 
we shall want your help." 

So " young John" returned sadly to 
the old Hall, his mind filled with gloomy 
presentiments, and with an aching grief, 
as he thought of his friendless position at 
King's Baynard when his dear old friend 
should be gone. " I did not know what 
it was to me before," he said to himself, 
" having the Eectory to go to, and a 
kindly face always at hand ;" and as he 
thought of these things, the voung man, 
whom we have seen in such buoyant 
spirits only the night before, laid his head 
upon his folded arms, and wept in his 
solitude aloud. 

He had ordered an early dinner at five 



184 king's baynard. 

to be served in the library — the room 
which he always inhabited when alone — in 
order that he might be at the Rectory 
at the hour mentioned by the Doctor as 
the one in which he expected a change to 
take place in his patient. Having hastily 
despatched the meal, and taken a draught 
of the choice wine with which the old 
butler had favoured him, in considera- 
tion of his being " so down like," as 
he expressed it; he was glad to leave 
the solitude and silence of the dim room 
which, combined with troublous thought, 
had begun to tell even upon his iron 
nerves. 

As he unfastened the shutters of the 
library window, which opened upon one of 
the fair Amabel Baynard' s favourite ter- 
race walks, he could not deceive himself 
as to the fact that, in addition to the noise 
which his own proceedings involved, the 
stillness of the night was broken by a low 



king's baynaed. 185 

wailing sound more properly described as 
an " utterance," which he had heard 
occasionally before, but which in his 
present mood gave a new meaning to the 
story of the Baynard ghost. 

The sound was in itself so wild and 
unearthly, that although heard distinctly 
for the moment, it was impossible to recall 
it in any shape to the mind's ear when it 
had once ceased, and Mr. Baynard him- 
self, if hard pressed, would have been at 
a loss to say what he really believed with 
regard to its cause, or its reality. He 
had jested the night before about the 
howling ghost which was supposed to 
haunt the old Hall, but I incline to think 
he would have resented any openly avowed 
disbelief in the truth of the legend. The 
servants and retainers of the household 
all devoutly and orthodoxly believed in it. 
Mrs. Grimstone, the housekeeper, had seen 
it ; and as she was not given to flights of 



186 king's baynaed. 

imagination, it was impossible to reject 
her testimony. It was dressed in green, 
she said, and followed by a King Charles' 
spaniel ; which fact, of course, gave rise 
to the conclusion that it was the ghost of 
the unhappy lady whom her husband, the 
" wicked baronet" had harassed into an 
early grave. 

A " draped ghost" has somewhere been 
quaintly described as a decent impro- 
bability, and the presence of the canine 
shade would also present difficulties 
to the practical inquirer, but be as 
honey to the soul of the kindly philan- 
thropist who maintains that dogs have 
souls. 

The belief in the identity of the ghost 
herself was confirmed by a curious re- 
semblance which some said the " utter- 
ance" bore to the words, " Ah ! Sir Mark ! 
Ah ! Ah !" sounds which, according to 
the testimony of the oldest inhabitant 



king's baynaed. 187 

had not been unknown at the Hall 
during the lifetime of the unhappy wo- 
man. 

Here, too, I think might be observed 
that subtle difference between the sublime 
and the ridiculous, involved in the sub- 
stitution of one monosyllable for another. 
" Oh ! Sir Mark, oh, oh !" would have 
been simply ridiculous ; " ah ! Sir Mark, 
ah, ah !" was pathetic, and, therefore, par- 
took of the nature of the sublime. 

" Young John " heard it that night 
with new and awakened perceptions. He 
felt as though something had struck like 
cold steel at the hopes of his youth, and 
at the honour and pride of his name ; he 
felt the presence of the curse which those 
dying lips had pronounced to be hanging 
over his inheritance still ; and he felt it for 
the first time. 

To shake off such dismal forebodings, 
he went round to the stables to see the 



188 king's baynaed. 

horses littered down for the night. They 
whinnied to him affectionately, as they 
recognised his familiar voice, all but Orion, 
who occupied a lonely stall at some dis- 
tance from the rest, his dangerous temper 
making him an undesirable neighbour. 

"What's the matter with you, old 
fellow?" said his master, approaching 
him, " won't you wish me good night ?" 
he added, laying his hand firmly but 
gently on his back, ' and following it up 
warily, until it lay on his magnificent 
crest. 

"What's the matter with this horse?" 
he called out to a lad who was busy 
about the favourite, Old Senator, "he's in 
a tremendous sweat, and trembling all 
over." 

That some soul-subduing horror had 
made the lofty soul of Orion quail in its 
presence was indeed evident ; and his 
master suspected that violence had been 



king's batnaed. 189 

resorted to by some helper or groom who 
had found him otherwise unmanageable. 
This suspicion roused the Baynard lion in 
his breast at once, and he said sharply to 
the lad who answered his summons, 

"It's no use your telling me a lie, what 
have you been doing to the horse ?" 

" I ain't a done nothink, Sir," said the 
boy, trembling in his turn. " I daren't go 
anigh him. But he's heard the ghost, 
please, Sir, and Mr. Saunders will tell you, 
Sir, it's the only thing as ever scares 
him." 



100 



CHAPTER VIII. 

" Man that flowers so fresh at morn, and fades at 
evening late." — spenser. 

rjIHE arrival of Mr. Baynard at the home 
-*- of his ancestors, and the young life 
thus springing, as it were, out of the ruin 
and decay of the old, had indeed, as the 
housekeeper had said, brought the remem- 
brance of times long past very vividly to 
Mr. Trevylian, her aged master. He had, 
as we have seen, roused himself to the 
extent of preaching in the young man's 
presence a sermon which touched upon 
the tarnished honour of his house, and 
which set before the heir of it, in forcible 
language, the fountain head of all true 



king's baynard. 191 

glory, and urged him to choose that better 
part. 

In return for this honest and tender 
solicitude, " young John " had bestowed 
upon his Mentor his grateful affec- 
tion, the affection of a son for a good 
father. 

His upright nature ever rang true 
to the touch of uprightness and ho- 
nesty in others; and he loved and re- 
spected the motive which had made the 
preacher so outspoken on the day of his 
first appearance in his parish church. It 
was, therefore, with a pang of the keenest 
sorrow which he had ever experienced, 
that he heard the old servant's announce- 
ment, that " the Doctor was with her mas- 
ter, and that she did not expect he would 
live through the night." 

" Poor, dear old gentleman," she added, 
sobbing heavily. " he's the last of the old 
stock, and he'll be sorely missed when 



192 king's baynard. 

he's gone — the poor will lose their best 
friend." 

" That I am sure they will, as well 
as ourselves," answered Mr. Baynard, 
whose genial nature seemed to invite the 
confidence of all. "I shall remain here 
to-night," he added, " and as long as I can 
be of any use. The Doctor is with him 
now you say ?" 

"He is up there now, Sir, but he'll be 
down presently, and you'll be company 
like ; but won't they be expecting you at 
the Hall ?" 

"No, no one at the Hall will trouble 
himself about me, Mrs. Meredith, ex- 
cepting Saunders, and he knows where I 
am. I'll sit up with the Doctor." 

" He'll be wanting his glass then, and 
maybe his pipe," observed Mrs. Meredith, 
forgetting that she was, according to an 
old habit of hers, thinking aloud, her grief 
for her old master having upset her, or 



king's baynakd. 193 

" put her about," as she would have said, 
to such an extent, as hardly to have left her 
mistress of herself ; and, she added, " mas- 
ter himself never smoked in this room." 

" Do not be uneasy on that score," said 
Mr. Baynard, courteous to any woman, 
young or old, and in whatever station of 
life. " I am not in a mood for a pipe to- 
night, and I dare say the Doctor will fol- 
low suit." 

There was not much fear on that score. 
Dr. Blake had lived in King's Baynard all 
his life, and the name even of one of the 
family from the Hall exercised over him 
a potent spell. He had succeeded his father, 
who had been apothecary in ordinary to the 
Baynard family, and who had owed the 
rather extensive practice he enjoyed during 
Ins life to their patronage and interest. 
There had been curious secrets, the old 
gossips said, concealed under the snowy 
cambric-frilled shirt which it was the Doc- 

vol. i. o 






194 king's baynabd. 

tor's custom to assume when he attended 
his more distinguished patients ; and the 
delicate folds of that garment had often 
been agitated by the palpitations of the 
medical breast, when Sir Mark had seen fit 
to preside over doctor and patient together, 
in the sombre sick-room of the unfortunate 
Lady Baynard. 

It was after some consultation — if a con- 
versation consisting of oaths and impreca- 
tions on one side, and meek and persistent 
remonstrance on the other can come under 
that head — respecting the expediency of 
the lady's attempting to nurse her own 
child, that she had taken the opportunity 
of gently slipping out of their hands alto- 
gether. The doctor had acted honestly by 
his patient, notwithstanding his awe of the 
wicked baronet ; and had strongly advised 
her to forbear an attempt, which her great 
weakness would probably have rendered 
fatal. 



king's eaynard. 195 

Sir Mark caring little for the welfare of 
the mother, but anxious for the life of his 
heir, pressed, or rather commanded the 
duty; and the poor lady, weary of the 
stormy dissertation in her sick-chamber, 
signed to the nurse to bring her the child, 
when Dr. Blake stepped forward and said 
emphatically, regardless of an angry gesture 
from Sir Mark, " I oodn't, mylady — indeed, 
I oodn't attempt it." They were the last 
words that fell upon the dying ear of Lady 
Baynard. She took the good doctor's ad- 
vice so conscientiously given, and attempted 
nothing more in this troublesome life. 
It was the soundest perhaps that he could 
have volunteered, in the widest sense of the 
words ; for life itself had been but a dreary 
attempt to the poor faded woman who had 
brought such a mine of wealth into .her 
husband's family. 

Did the silent shade, in the green robes 
and attendant doggie, ever recall the scene 

o 2 



196 king's baynard. 

which concluded with the mournfully sug- 
gestive words, " I oodn't, my lady — indeed, 
I oodn't attempt it ?" 

No sooner had Mrs. Meredith informed 
the Doctor that " Mr. John was below," 
than he prepared to join him, saying as 
he laid down the thin blue-veined hand on 
the counterpane, " I must go and give 
him my report of our patient, our pulse 
is decidedly stronger than it was, ma'am ; 
if we get through the night we shall do." 

As the old woman took her seat at the 
bed's head of her beloved master, prepared 
practically, and literally to sit ujo with 
him, and not to snore soundly at his side — 
a proceeding for which the same phrase 
is sometimes delicately a euphemism 
— she took up his thin hand and 
kissed it tenderly, while the grateful tears 
bedewed her own cheeks. She loved him 
with the faithful, constant, untiring love, 
peculiar to the class in which love is an 



king's baynard. 197 

instinct ; and which like the love of a faith- 
ful dog, is unchanging in a world of change. 
As the Doctor joined Mr. Baynard, who 
was anxiously awaiting him in the study, he 
at first assumed the conventional manner 
and form of expression which we all know 
so well, and which we have all cursed so 
heartily when the life of some dear one 
has been trembling in the balance. As 
though nothing artificial or conventional, 
however, could long exist in that honest 
eager presence, the Doctor himself soon 
gave up the sham, and shaking the young 
man heartily by the hand, he exclaimed : 
" Thank God, Sir ! the danger is past, and 
our dear old friend will get over it this 
bout." 

" Thank God !" echoed Mr. Baynard fer- 
vently ; " this is indeed good news ; for 
I certainly thought he was dying this 
morning." 

" Gad, Mr. John," said the Doctor, a 



198 king's baynaed. 

little ashamed perhaps of his burst of emo- 
tion, " I am too old to make such a fool 
of myself; but I was thinking of the 
glorious fellow he was when he first came 
among us. Such a wife and daughter as 
he had too, and to lose them both as he 
did ! It was that which broke his heart, Sir, 
but he was not the one to die of it. He'd 
too much of the right stuff in him for that." 

" I have only known Mr. Trevylian 
lately," answered Mr. Baynard, " but in 
that short time I have conceived a great 
affection for him. I found him an upright 
man and a courteous gentleman; but with 
the sad history you speak of, Doctor, I 
am unacquainted. I did not even know 
that he had ever had a daughter until to- 
day." 

" Indeed, Mr. John, you surprise me; 
but then I forget that time flies, and I 
ought to know if any one does, for I 
brought the poor thing into a world of 



king's baynaed. 199 

troubles, just five and forty years ago next 
Christmas. What a lovely creature she 
grew into ! She made fine havoc with 
the young men's hearts in her day — and 
no wonder, Sir, no wonder." 

" Was she like her picture ? — that pic- 
ture, T mean," asked Mr. Baynard, in- 
dicating the spot where the curtain 
concealed it, which had been rearranged 
by the careful hand of Mrs. Meredith 
since the morning. 

" Like it as she could stare, Sir ; or 
rather the picture was like her — the rascal 
could paint — " 

" You must enlighten me, Doctor, if I 
am to follow you. Sit down if you will, 
and spare me an hour's gossip. I do not 
mean to go back to the Hall to-night." 

" Willingly, Mr. John, willingly. I 
should not have thought, either, of going 
home to-night, although I trust the dan- 
ger is past. I will step up and see my 



200 king's baynaed. 

patient again, and then I shall be prond 
of your company, Sir, proud of your com- 
pany," the little man added, rubbing his 
hands, and his countenance beaming with 
satisfaction ; for, besides the real pleasure 
he promised himself in Mr. Baynard's 
society, he thought also what prestige it 
would give him among his patients when 
he talked of his long night-watch with the 
popular heir of King's Baynard. 

" We are getting on favourably, our 
pulse is decidedly better," he announced, 
with his professional manner on, as he 
returned to the study ; and then he said, 
with a peculiar little jerk of his head, like 
that of a bird of the daw tribe, " you 
smoke, Mr. John, I think." 

" Sometimes I do, but not to-night. 
This room is under his, if I re- 
member rightly," was Mr. Baynard's 
answer ; for he recollected the careful ser- 
vant's well-timed soliloquy with regard to 



king's baynaud. 201 

the desecration of the study. Seeing the 
Doctor's countenance fall, he pushed to- 
wards him the well furnished tray which 
Mrs. Meredith had provided to minister 
to the creature comforts of the watchers ; 
saying as he did so, " Take care of your- 
self, Doctor, and tell me more of this 
young lady ; you must remember that I 
knew absolutely nothiug of King's Bay- 
nard, or its inhabitants, until I came here 
to live. I do not wish to discuss matters 
of mere private interest," he added, " but 
I suppose every one in the place, excepting 
myself, is acquainted with her history. 
You must make me more at home with the 
Wends of the neighbourhood." 

The Doctor looked up quickly for he felt 
that he was on dangerous ground, and that 
most of the King's Baynard legends would 
scarcely bear repeating in the presence of 
the young heir. A moment's reflection, 
however, reassured him ; for with the un- 



202 king's batnard. 

happy fortunes of Mabel Trevylian, the 
members of that doomed house had no- 
thing to do. She had not been born until 
long after the disappearance of Sir Mark 
Baynard from the country, with the heir 
presented to him by the lady in green ; 
and although the next baronet, during his 
short residence at the old Hall, had carried 
on a passing flirtation with his lovely 
neighbour at the Rectory, it was of that 
frivolous kind, that no one could mistake 
for a genuine attachment on either side. 
He had flirted, indeed, with every pretty 
girl in the county, without the slightest 
intention of putting his head into the 
noose matrimonial, or of settling down as a 
Benedict in the place which he so cordially 
hated. The Doctor, therefore, saw his way 
from the beginning to the end of Mabel's 
history without touching on forbidden 
ground, and began as follows. 

" It was a sad story, Mr. John, a very 



king's baynaed. 203 

sad one. Miss Mabel was an only child 
and an heiress, for Mrs. Trevylian, her 
mother, had a pretty penny of her own, 
and this living is the best in the county, 
as, of course, you know. She had plenty 
of swains all sighing at her feet, and 
languishing for a kind glance from her 
fine eyes ; but she was as saucy and skittish 
as her own little mare, Lightfoot, and 
played fast and loose with them, just as 
it suited her whim. She'd be all smiles 
one day, and all frowns the next ; flirting 
and coquetting with them by turns, and 
tossing her pretty head so scornfully when 
she was not in the best of tempers." 

" A real primitive village beauty, an 
Olivia Primrose, in fact ; your description, 
Doctor, is graphic and delicious," re- 
marked " young John," who had risen 
to pull aside the curtain that he might 
gaze again on the beautiful face that had 
fascinated him so completely. " Those 



204 king's baynahd. 

hazel eyes look as if they could flash with 
some purpose, if they liked," he added. 

" You are right, Sir, quite right. Mabel 
Trevylian was no angel, as far as temper 
went. But then she had been spoilt 
from her cradle, her mother made an idol 
of her, and her father thought God's 
earth itself not good enough for her to 
step upon. One couldn't blame them 
either. She was born when they had 
given up all hopes of a child, and she 
was like a sunbeam in the Rectory from 
that time until the end. Only to think, 
that had she lived, she'd have been old 
enough for your mother ; and there was 
I saying to myself just now, when you 
were looking so sweet on the picture, 
what a match she would have been for 
the heir of King's Baynard ! She was all 
light and fire, all spirits and fine health — 
a stamp of woman that's dying out very 
fast. They're poor lack-a-daisical things, 



king's baynakd. 205 

now, the best of them, as far as I can see, 
at least." 

"Have you seen Mrs. Vavasour, Doc- 
tor? if not, suspend your judgment. She 
is the most beautiful woman I have ever 
seen." 

" No, Mr. John, I hadn't the luck. I 
was not ' in town' on Saturday. Farmer 
Newman's ploughboy, of course, chose 
that day of all others to break the small 
bone of his leg. It was a great miss, Sir ; 
a great miss, for I hear that they went 
through in style." 

" They did, indeed. I met them again 
last night at the ball, when she appeared 
to even greater advantage. What a dif- 
ferent scene to-night ! I went over early, 
or I should have heard of the Rector's ill- 
ness before." 

" It has been coming on for some time, 
Sir ; the cerebral tissues have been weak- 
ened by trouble, and his fine constitution 



206 king's baynabd. 

has given away at last. You should have 
seen him as I remember him ; no one could 
beat him across country, and he was as 
pretty a judge of a horse as the wick — I 
mean as the old baronet himself." 

Here the Doctor checked himself sud- 
denly, and Mr. Baynard, perceiving his 
confusion, kindly helped him out of his 
difficulty, by remarking, 

" Mrs. Meredith tells me that her master 
was taken ill while looking at his daugh- 
ter's picture, which he only does, she 
assures me, on rare occasions. You must 
continue her story, Doctor, for I am deeply 
interested." 

" Certainly, Mr. John, certainly ; her 
story is not one that will take long in the 
telling, more's the pity, poor deluded 
young thing ! She ran away, Sir, from 
this very house, one summer's evening, 
with a painter fellow — a bold, black-eyed 
chap that she ought to have been above 



king's baynard. 207 

speaking to. The shock killed her mother, 
who never held up her head again — the 
shock and the disgrace, too ; for he was a 
low fellow, and what Miss Mabel saw in 
him, it is impossible to say — she who used 
to hold her head so high, too, poor thing ! 
poor thing !" 

" But this is not the end, Doctor ? 
What became of her after all ? Is she 
living or dead at the present moment — 
the original of this beautiful face?" 

"Dead, Mr. John — dead long ago; be- 
fore that picture which has struck you so 
much ever found its way to the Rectory. 
Mr. Trevylian received the intelligence of 
his daughter's death before he had for- 
given her, and it broke him down. The 
letter was from the villain himself; but he 
gave the poor father no clue by which he 
could hold any communication with him. 
He sent him a miniature portrait of Mabel, 
and a lock of her hair ; and there was no 



208 king's baynard. 

reason to disbelieve his statement, as the 
poor girl was an heiress, it would have 
been his object to become reconciled to the 
family, not to kill her." 

" And the picture itself, how did it come 
here ?" 

" It was left at the ' Baynard Arms,' in 
the hurry of the flight. No one thought 
Mr. Trevylian would have looked at it, as it 
was through that portrait that the unfortu- 
nate acquaintance began ; but when the 
news came of his daughter's death, he sent 
for it, and hung it there with his own 
hands, telling the housekeeper to provide 
a curtain for it ; and that's all .that I, or 
any one in King's Baynard know about 
the picture, Mr. John. I've never heard 
him mention her name till to-night, when 
he was wandering a little, and I could not 
make out all he said." 

" What brought the man to the ' Bay- 
nard Arms ?' That is what puzzles me in 



king's bayxakd. 209 

it all," observed "young John," after both 
men had been silent for a short space, 
while the Doctor peered curiously into his 
companion's face, holding the spoon in the 
stiff glass of " something comfortable," dex- 
terously out of the way of his nose as 
he did so. 

"He came down there first, when Sir 
Marmaduke was amongst us," the Doc- 
tor said, hesitatingly; " he was always a 
patron of the fine arts, you know ; and 
the fellow was copying some of the pic- 
tures at the Hall." 

Mr. Baynard made no comment upon 
the reply to his question. The mention of 
his father's name always had the effect of 
sealing his lips at once. The Doctor, see- 
ing that his mood had changed, and that he 
did not seem inclined for further conver- 
sation, took the opportunity of making a 
second visit to his patient, whom he found 
what the faithful watcher at his side called 

VOL. I. P 



210 king's baynaed. 

"very comfortable." His sleep did, in- 
deed, seem calm and painless, undisturbed 
by sad images either of the present or the 
past. 

The Doctor foreseeing that he would 
continue in this state for some hours, and 
that there was no likelihood of any farther 
change that night, strongly recommended 
Mr. Baynard to go home and to bed, re- 
minding him that the members of the 
Derefordshire hunt breakfasted at the 
Hall the next morning, for which hos- 
pitality on the part of the heir, so long a 
vigil would be but a bad preparation. 

" You are right, Doctor," answered the 
young man, "if our old friend is not 
likely to require my services, I had better 
go home, and come over the first thing 
in the morning;" and as he shook the 
old man cordially by the hand, he said, 
"Thank you for the story; although a 
sad one, it has beguiled the time and 



king's baynaed. 211 

given me the clue that was wanting to 
account for the strain of melancholy, 
which I had been at a loss to account 
for, in the mind of my dear old friend. 
Good night, Doctor. God grant that he 
may be spared to us yet !" 



p 2 



212 



CHAPTER IX. 

" I will not change my horse with any that treads but 
on four pasterns." — king henry, Act 3. 

fTlHE "hounds met at King's Baynard the 
-*- next morning. A gusty night had 
been succeeded by one of those moist ge- 
nial mornings so dear to the heart of the 
fox-hunter. The ground was soft and 
elastic, and the covers were still dripping 
with the moisture that rose from the earth 
in gentle mist. The Baynard breakfast 
meet " was always a lucky one," men said, 
as they passed each other on the road, 
holding their powerful hunters fresh from 
the effects of a six weeks frost. 



king's baynaed. 213 

" There go the hunters !" shouted the 
delighted children, as the village street 
became alive and gay with the red-coats, 
on their way to the Hall. 

" And there be the hourids," they added, 
as the noble pack, with their master in 
their midst, jogged quietly on with the 
business-like preoccupied air peculiar to 
those who know that there is work before 
them to do. 

" This is like old times, Allonby," said a 
heavily-appointed, heavily-mounted squire 
of the old school, to a brother fogie 
on an equally ponderous scale, as they 
trotted together up the avenue leading to 
the old Hall, which was the growth of 
many centuries, but which was not older 
than the Baynards themselves. 

"It is indeed," was the reply ; "we 
only want the parson out to make the illu- 
sion complete, he did ride, by Jove ! Some 
one was saying on the road that he'd had 



214 king's baynaed. 

had a stroke. If the old boy goes there'll 
be a good thing vacant. The Baynard 
living is worth twelve hundred a year, 
if it's worth sixpence." 

"Beg pardon, squire, can't hold my 
mare," said a madcap hard rider of the 
new school, as he made the turf fly right 
and left, cut from the soft soil as with a 
knife, by the heels of his high-flying chest- 
nut, and causing the gentleman so ad- 
dressed and so bespattered, to make use . 
of language unbecoming either to his years 
or his dignity. 

" That's a nice chap," he said, looking 
after him with a face as scarlet with rage 
as his own coat ; " a nice fellow indeed to 
ride over gentlemen. Why, his father kept 
a public, Sir, — a low public in Elminster, 
and his father's son sets up for a gentle- 
man, and rides to the devil in a red 
coat." 

" A sign of the times that's all, Allonby ; 



king's baynakd. 215 

set a beggar on horseback — you know the 
rest," was the philosophical reply of the 
brother fogie, who had not been bespat- 
tered, whose horse had not curveted and 
who therefore was less irascible on the 
subject, notwithstanding his Tory princi- 
ples. 

As soon as the master appeared upon 
the lawn, surrounded by the pack, the 
banqueting hall was thrown open to the 
ravages of as goodly a field as could be 
mustered in Derefordshire, which was a 
sporting and hard riding county. The 
" Mark's Bush" meet, and " the Baynard 
meet" were not one and the same thing ; the 
latter implying a breakfast to the hunt from 
the young and hospitable heir, the other 
implying nothing more than met the eye ; 
but both were suggestive of sport, for 
foxes abounded in the covers, and each 
and everyone of the King's Baynard ten- 
ants were sportsmen to the back bone. 



216 king's baynaed. 

On the particular morning in question, 
" young John's" mind having been relieved 
of its anxious solicitude by good news 
from the Rectory, his spirits rose high in 
proportion to the depression which they 
had experienced, so that the tide of popu- 
larity was at its full flow. 

" He is a good fellow," said one ; " And 
there's no one like him," said another; 
"And there are good days coming for 
King's Baynard now," said a third. 

In the midst of this good company 
might have been seen the little Doctor, 
rubbing his hands and jerking his head 
from side to side, as was his wont, whilst 
he informed every one present that he had 
been sitting up with " young Mr. John" 
the night before, and "that he was the 
best company of any man he knew." 

" How do, Doctor, how's the parson ?" 
echoed the elderly squire before alluded 
to, who seemed to take a lively interest 



king's bayxaed. 217 

in the Rector of the King's Baynard 
living. 

" Better, Sir, decidedly better. Heard 
the hounds go this morning, Sir, pricked 
up his ears, and said, c there'll be a good 
scent to-day, Doctor.' Haven't heard him 
say such a thing before for years, lost all 
his interest in sport of late." 

" ' The ruling passion strong in death,' 
that's the secret of it, as I take it," said 
the old squire who had a son in orders, 
and who became fidgetty and anxious about 
every good living in the neighbourhood, 
likely to become vacant. He accordingly 
pooh-poohed the Doctor, who replied to 
his remark. " No such thing, Sir, no 
such thing, he'll get over it this bout, I'll 
stake my reputation on it." The worthy 
squire, however, was not so fully convinced 
on that score ; and he surprised his neigh- 
bour at the hospitable board, by giving 
him suddenly a poke in the ribs, and asking 



218 king's baynakd. 

him before he had time to .remonstrate, 
" How would you go to work now, about 
that sorb of thing, eh ?" 

" Go to work, why cut it to be sure," 
replied his friend, thinking the squire's 
remark had reference to the game pie be- 
fore him, not having been supplied with 
any other clue to the problem proposed 
for his solution. 

There were sharper ears', however, on 
the other side of the table belonging to a 
very shrewd attorney from Elminster, who 
had two ruling passions, in the gratifica- 
tion of which he had equally keen enjoy- 
ment — the one was fox hunting, the other 
jobbing. He was called " Limping Lines," 
from an inequality in his gait ; and was a 
partner in the business of Mr. Dale, the 
old established and respectable solicitor 
who managed the business of all the great 
families in the immediate neighbourhood. 
People had complained of late years that 



king's baynatcd. 219 

lie left too much to the younger and more 
energetic partner, in whose hands they 
did not feel their honour and integrity to 
be quite on the same safe footing as when 
entrusted solely to the keeping of the 
principal, who had practised in Elminster 
from time immemorial, and his father 
before him. 

In the same manner, however, that the 
young practitioner in the medical profes- 
sion is artfully insinuated into the practice 
of the time-honoured family physician, by 
being sent in the first instance, to less 
responsible cases, and then taking the game 
of life and death by degrees into his own 
hands, was " Limping Lines" inserted by 
the thin end of the wedge into the legal prac- 
tice of Elminster and the neighbourhood. 
" He was a good man of business," men 
said, "a sharp fellow;" but they did not 
say, as they had said of Mr. Dale in his 
day, that he was a " safe man," or, " slow 



220 king's baynaed. 

as a top, Sir, but honourable to the back 
bone." 

These things were not said of that 
sharp practitioner and good man of busi- 
ness, Mr. Nathaniel Lines. His presence 
at the Hall that day was owing to the 
circumstance of a deed being required for 
business purposes, which was in a safe in 
the library occupied by Mr. Baynard, to 
which the family solicitor had the means of 
access. The breakfast at the Hall, and the 
prospect of sport with the Herefordshire 
hounds, enabled him to kill two birds with 
one stone; so it was altogether a red 
letter day in the mental calendar of the 
Elminster attorney. He liked to show off 
his familiarity with the ins and outs of the 
Hall, and, indeed, did the honours of it, 
when the heir was not present, in the 
manner which hangers on at great houses 
so often assume ; taking in greedily, at the 
same time, all the floating gossip which 



KING S BAYNARD. 221 

such gatherings of men in high spirits, 
and with good cheer before them, is sure 
to put into circulation. 

The illness of Mr. Trevylian he thus 
heard of casually, and did not fail to 
balance the probabilities of a speedy 
vacancy of the Baynard living. He knew 
as much, or indeed, more than his princi- 
pal, with* regard to the Baynard property. 
The manner in which it was entailed — the 
amount of the rent-roll — and even the 
feeling and temper of Sir Marmacluke 
himself, concerning matters purely private 
and personal, had come under his cogni- 
zance ; for upon him had lately devolved 
the office of conveying the rents to the 
Baronet, and of transacting all business 
requiring personal communication. Mr. 
Dale was getting infirm; and preferred 
leaving these excursions to the more active 
partner, who had gradually acquired an 
influence over Sir Marmaduke, which the 



222 king's baynakd. 

more worthy solicitor liacl never been able 
to effect. 

To " young John" himself, the presence of 
Mr. Lines was as a perpetual thorn in his 
side. His manner to the heir was offen- 
sive and familiar. He alone, of all his 
acquaintances and friends in the neigh- 
bourhood, dared to make his private 
concerns a matter of public observation 
and comment. On this occasion, inspired 
perhaps by the potency of the home- 
brewed ale, he actually baited the heir by 
the cool impertinence of his remarks to 
him, made down the whole length of his 
own table. 

" Next time I see Sir Marmaduke, Mr. 
John," he began, " I must try what can 
be done about our refractory friend at the 
North Farm. It won't do, however, to 
take the old gentleman out of his mood, 
or her ladyshij) either, as far as that goes I 
take it." 



king's baynaed. 223 

This was going a step too far, lie had 
bearded the Hon once too often ; and Mr. 
Baynard fixing the attorney with an indig- 
nant gaze, said in clear ringing accents 
which were well heard by everyone then 
present, "Mr. Lines, you will be good 
enough to bear in mind for the future, 
that references to matters purely private 
and personal, with regard to my family in 
my presence, are not consistent either 
with your position or with mine. I must 
request you in future to find other subjects 
for discussion." 

Mr. Nathaniel Lines, who was as bitter 
as hyssop when subjected to defeat or 
humiliation, whispered to his next neigh- 
bour, as the renewed buzz of voices made 
his observation inaudible at the upper end. 
" The Baynard cockerel crows loud, but 
there's one that will one day crow louder 
than he. His position indeed — let him 
look to it." 



224 king's baynakp. 

His remark met with no response, and 
indeed fell unheeded on the ear of the 
worthy gentleman farmer to whom it was 
addressed, and who was mnch more intent 
upon the discussion of the game pasty 
before him, than upon any observation, 
from him whom he called contemptuously 
" Nat Lines," detrimental to the popular 
heir. 

As the respected master of the hounds, 
Major Dalkeith, rose from his chair, and 
proceeded to the lawn, where his "dappled 
darlings" greeted him with all the warmth 
of their canine natures, the banqueting 
hall was speedily deserted. "What do 
you ride to-day ?" more than one man 
asked "young John," as he settled 
himself in his saddle, or directed his 
critical eye to the good points of his own 
steed. 

" The chestnut horse," was the reply, 
" I am ridipor ] imi to sell." 



king's baynard. 225 

As he spoke, Saunders appeared in 
sight, leading the splendid brute, which 
contrary to custom, appeared to be docile 
as a lamb ; he even allowed his rider to 
mount, without the display of temper on 
his part which generally accompanied the 
proceeding. 

" What's the meaning of this, Saun- 
ders ?" asked his master, as he patted 
Orion on the neck, and looked at the 
groom for information with regard to this 
unprecedented tranquillity of demeanour 
on the part of the " chestnut devil," as the 
horse was called among the members of 
the Derefordshire hunt. 

" It means mischief, to my thinking, 
Sir," answered Saunders, ominously. " I 
don't believe that 'ere 'oss is right in his 
'ead ;" with which sententious remark, 
the oracle proceeded to mount the sweetest 
mare that ever entered the Baynard stables, 
by name Brown Kate, for which fabulous 

vol. I. Q 



226 king's baynakd. 

sums had been offered, but offered in vain. 
If Brown Kate was not equal to Orion in 
the length of her stride, her qualities as 
a fencer were superior to his, and she 
carried the spare form of Saunders as she 
would have carried a fly. 

As they trotted off to cover, a splendid 
and well mounted field, they were joined 
by one or two ladies and their attendant 
cavaliers, and Mr. Baynard recognised 
amongst them the light graceful figure 
of Margaret Town-Eden, on her favourite 
mare, Jocuncla, at whose bridle-rein he 
had so often ridden, a favoured knight. 

" I wonder if this brute will let me go 
near her," he thought, as, standing at 
the cover-side, he caught Margaret's eye, 
and raised his cap in respectful homage. 

She looked wonderfully pretty; the 
healthy colour mantling in her cheeks, 
and the snowy white of her gloves and 
collar contrasting so well with the dark 



king's baynakd. 227 

hues of her habit, while the riding hat, so 
becoming to some faces, especially young 
ones, crowned the auburn tresses, which are 
the boast of an English Hebe. Jocunda was 
worthy of her mistress, and as she cocked 
her taper ears to the whimper of the hounds, 
and curved her beautiful neck against the 
restraining hand, they formed a picture 
dear to all Englishmen, that of a beautiful 
woman mounted on a beautiful horse. 

" Young John," the last man in Eng- 
land to deny the fascination of either, 
ventured so far upon the wonderful phase 
of docility exhibited by Orion, as to steer 
him carefully alongside of the gentle Jo- 
cunda. 

" I must venture upon it, Miss Town- 
Eden," he said, in his frank and genial 
manner, " I must ask your forgiveness for 
my forgetfulness the other night. Not 
that I am such a coxcomb as to think it 
mattered to you, but it matters seriously 

Q 2 



228 king's baynaed. 

to me whether in future you exclude Hie 
or not from the honour of your notice. 
Will you forget — that is a better way of 
putting it — for there was not much to 
forgive in it, on your part, at least." 

" Sometimes it is easier to forgive, than 
to forget" answered Margaret, " but in 
our case there is little difficulty on either 
score. If I assure you I have both for- 
given and forgotten, will that content 
you?" 

"It ought to do more," he answered, 
really relieved that he had so easily made 
his peace, and not perceiving the under- 
current of bitterness in Margaret's tone ; 
and still in his utter innocence of any 
sentiment towards her, eluding the little 
pi I falls which the inborn spirit of coquetry 
led her to lay in his path. 

Turning the conversation altogether 
into a different channel, he told her of 
the extraordinary conduct of Orion that 



king's baynaed. 229 

morning ; of the attempt at purchase 
made by the young cornet, and of his 
(Mr. Baynard's) enthusiastic admiration of 
Mrs. Vavasour, of which, indeed, she had 
already seen and heard enough. 

Margaret's interest at this point of the 
conversation apparently fell to zero, and 
she began to pull Jocunda's silken mane 
through her fingers, and to flip the ears 
of the pony her little brother was riding, 
with her whip, as she answered, with 
apparent carelessness, 

"Yes, she is pretty; but I think she 
looks better on the stage than in a private 
room." 

This remark was intended as a little 
stab to the refined taste of Mr. Baynard, 
and it had the effect desired. There is 
something very vulgar and commonplace 
about the idea of a stage, although a true 
and exalted artist every now and then does 
descend to the common boards. Words 



230 king's eaynaed. 

have great power over susceptible orga- 
nisations, and that word stage jarred upon 
the sensitive perceptions — as far as women 
were concerned — of " young John." He 
would not have been as much fascinated 
with Mrs. Vavasour, had he ever seen her 
in her public capacity — a woman's name to 
him was too sacred to be breathed upon by 
the vulgar breath. 

Margaret Town-Eden little knew how 
fatal to any latent hopes she might have 
entertained with regard to winning: his 
affections, was the very popularity that 
made her " Maggie Town-Eden," in the 
mouths of many of the young men of his 
acquaintance. He never could have given 
his own lofty heart, pure and intact, to any 
woman who was " Maggie" to any other 
man than himself. 

It was not a day for any prolonged talk 
at the cover-side. The hounds found al- 
most directly, and came out of cover in a 



231 



KING S BAYNABD. 

body, with a stout fox in front of them and 
hearts of steel behind, prepared to keep up 
the prestige so well earned by the flower 
of the Derefordshire hunt. 

" You mean riding, to-day, I see, Mr. 
Baynard," Margaret had just time to say, 
as, with the spirit of true sportsmen, the 
horsemen, one and all, above any petty 
jealousies, gave the hounds fair play, and 
let them get well upon their scent, before 
they followed in their wake, as they 
streamed away over ridge and furrow 
of the stiff clay bottom of the Baynard 
mere. 

" I do, indeed," he answered, laughingly, 
as Orion roused himself from his lethargy 
and bounded to the front, " and this brute 
means going, I really believe." 

There was no doubt of it, and if the chest- 
nut horse had exhibited the signs of a 
disordered intellect, as darkly hinted at by 



232 king's baynabd. 

Saunders in the morning, there appeared to 
be " method in the madness," as he shook 
himself into his stride and seemed to swal- 
low the broad ditches which intersected his 
way. He rose at his fences in superb style, 
and leapt neither higher nor farther than 
was necessary, instead of adopting his usual 
custom of rushing at them with the fury 
of a steam-engine and the blindness of a 
bat. 

"You are worth your weight in gold," 
said "young John," addressing his horse, 
who thundered on, half a field ahead of 
the hardest riders in the hunt, with a wild 
eye and a blood red nostril, yet perfectly 
under control, and as obedient to the 
hand as the park hack of a Belgravian 
damsel. 

There was a good deal of jealous riding 
(as, indeed, where is there not ?) amongst 
the horsemen of Dereford shire, and many a 
man risked his neck that day, in emula- 



KING'S BArNAKD. 233 

tion of the exploits of the daring pair. 
One of these was a hero no less exalted 
than Nathaniel Lines himself, who had 
the advantage of an intimate acquaintance 
with every stick and stone of the country 
which he was riding over. He was mounted 
on his well-known weedy thorough-bred, 
which he had christened Quill-driver, and 
was riding as straight as " young John " 
himself, saving his horse a little for the 
crowning triumph which he believed would 
be his. With a shrewd twinkle in his left 
eye, he saw that his superior knowledge 
of the line of country had given him an 
advantage over his enemy; for Mr. Bay- 
narcl and his flying horse, unswerving in 
their course, were following the hounds 
to the very edge of a deep ravine, down 
which, as the attorney muttered to him- 
self, neither man nor devil could jump 
and live. Turning, therefore, sharply to 
the right, he rode desperately in the direc- 



234 king's baynard. 

tion of a spot which was leapable for horse 
and man, and to reach which " young 
John" must of necessity retrace his career, 
upon finding the other impracticable. He 
should thus, he believed, distance him by 
half a field ; and the crafty but not craven 
heart of the scrivener glowed with grati- 
fied revenge at the thought. When within 
twenty yards of his own leap, which was 
by no means a despicable affair, he shot a 
glance in the direction of his rival, about 
a field distant from him in a parallel line. 
What he now saw, appalled even him ; his 
yellow skin assumed a dull leaden-grey 
hue, and his heart and his horse leapt at 
the same moment. He cleared the fence 
in his own way, and turned in his saddle 
to see what had become of the reckless 
rider of that demon steed. 

"By he must be killed," he said; 

"but it is no business of mine," he added, 
as he saw the hounds a field ahead, and not 



235 

a single man of the Derefordshire hunt in 
their wake. This was a triumph he had 
never before achieved, and he must follow 
it up, if the necks of all the Baynards that 
ever lived had been broken within a stone's 
throw of him. The attorney had reckoned 
without his host in that instance ; for the 
dark form of Orion with a rider on his back, 
of the same hue as himself, appeared in the 
rear of the hounds ; the pair had performed 
a feat unparalleled in the annals of the 
Derefordshire hunt. As Xathaniel Lines 
gazed at the apparition with a feeling not 
unmixed with awe, he exclaimed, "It's of 
no use riding against the devil himself." 

It was a thing clone in a moment, but 
which lives in the recollection of riding-men 
to this day ; a crash, a struggle, a roll, in 
which the horse and the rider gathered 
the stiff clay soil so thickly upon them, as 
to lose all distinguishing colours, and they 
found themselves in a tangled brake, or 



236 king's baynard. 

thicket, sound of limb, but stunned some- 
what with the violence of the fall, for fall 
it was rather than a jump, although taken 
by the common consent of the horse and 
his rider, who were evidently agreed upon 
one point that day, to keep first to 
hounds, or to die in the attempt. 

" Where the devil is he gone ?" was 
the exclamation of a horseman who had 
followed on his line, and who had been 
riding very jealous of " young John," of 
late, as he drew rein on the brink of that 
ravine, into which our hero had plunged 
like Marcus Curtius into the Roman gulf 
of old. The question was answered by 
Saunders, who, on Brown Kate, had kept 
his master in sight from the commence- 
ment of the run. 

"Down there," he said, smiling grimly, 
and pointing to the spot from which Orion 
must have made the jump. He, too, like 
the sharp- sighted attorney, had caught 



king's baynard. 237 

sight of the well-known figure in the wake 
of the streaming pack, and lie could afford 
to smile as he called attention to the 
feat. 

Up rode at that moment, also, the limp 
cornet, with whose views concerning the 
horse whose fame would now ring far and 
near, we are previously acquainted. He 
had cordially hoped that "young John" 
might have cause to repent the asper- 
sions cast upon his horsemanship and his 
judgment ; instead of that, the notorious 
chestnut had won for his master the crown 
which the hardest riders in the field that 
day were not likely to attempt to wrench 
from his grasp. 

The hounds continued at the top of 
their speed, over the open country which 
lay before them, and the giant stride 
of Orion kept him well in their rear. 
"Young John," always very susceptible 
to the good or valuable qualities of the 



238 king's baynaed. 

animal lie bestrode, could, like the lady 
in the Spanish ballad, have kissed the 
foam from the lips of the gallant brute 
which had carried him so gloriously on 
that memorable day; he had made up in 
that run for the shortcomings or ferocity 
of his former career, and his master said 
to him, as he drew rein at the first 
check, " Two hundred, indeed, old fel- 
low ! Make them thousands, and I 
won't part with you. You've a heart 
of steel." 

As the field, profiting by the check, 
came up one by one, some with horses 
dead beat, and all showing symptoms of 
distress, more or less, " young John " 
was addressed by one or two of the least 
jealous among the horsemen who had 
heard of his desperate feat. 

"By jove ! Baynard," said one, "you've 
turned a field of good men to-day." 

" Is that yourself, or your ghost ? as 



king's baynakd. 239 

the Irishman said," remarked another. 

" What will you take for the chestnut 
now, Sir ?" asked Saunders, quietly, but 
with a latent grin, that showed how deeply 
he enjoyed his master's triumph. 

"Nothing less than his weight in gold," 
was the reply, ( " and I am not quite sure I 
would that." 

Before the words were spoken, the 
hounds were again on the scent, and 
those amongst the horsemen whose horses 
had hardly recovered their wind, saw with 
dismay that the fox had turned in a direc- 
tion which showed he had full confidence 
in his own power of staying, and gave 
every prospect of a sharper thing than had 
ever been red-lettered before in the annals 
of the Derefordshire hunt. 

Many a good man, and many a good 
horse, saw little more of the flying pack 
on the clay of that celebrated run ; and 
three horsemen only lived with them to 



240 king's baynard. 

the finish, and witnessed the kill of the 
stoutest fox that ever broke cover from 
the gorse bushes of King's Baynard parle. 
Those three were Major Dalkeith, the mas- 
ter, who was splendidly mounted on his 
favourite hunter, the King of Trumps ; a 
Leicestershire man who was staying with 
him, and who had been riding against 
" young John " all day; and our hero, on 
the gallant Orion. 

" What will you take for that horse ?" 
asked the Major, as the two rode nearly 
abreast at the last fence — the Leicester- 
shire man was distanced — " you said you 
were riding him to sell." 

" I have changed my mind," was the 
reply, as Orion rose at the leap, and the 
next moment fell with his rider heavily on 
the other side. 

" He rose short," said the Major, as 
he stood by the side of the fallen horse, 
from whose prostrate form " young 



king's baynard. 241 

John" had quickly disentangled him- 
self. 

But it was not so ; the good horse had 
done his duty, and had died in doing it. 
Worthy of his high descent, worthy of his 
pure blue blood, Orion died the death of 
the brave. " He gathered up his strength 
to die worthily," was once said of some 
good knight of old, and in the gathering 
of his mighty pulses for the last effort, 
the gallant heart of Orion had given way. 

" Dead as a door nail," was the verdict 
of the jury, composing the coroner's in- 
quest that sat upon the body. "Young 
John" turned away from the spot, with 
tears in his eyes, which did him no dis- 
credit among the gallant members of the 
Dereforclshire hunt. 

It was a melancholy ending to that day 
of triumph; and as "young John" rogle 
home on Gentle Kate, he thought sadly 
of the fate of the gallant beast which had 

VOL. I. R 



242 KIND'S BAYNARD. 

so lately bounded beneath him, in the 
glory of his matchless strength. And the 
words from which I quoted, at the begin- 
ning of the chapter, recurred to him, for 
he had a good memory, and " the bard" had 
been his favourite study from his boyish 
days, "When I bestride him, I soar, I 
am a hawk; he trots the air; the earth 
sings when he touches it ; the basest horn 
of his hoof is more musical than the pipe 
of Hermes. It is a beast for Perseus ; he 
is pure air and fire ; and the dull elements 
of earth and water never appear in him, 
but only in patient stillness while his rider 
mounts him." 

" He was, indeed, a horse," he added, 
sadly, " and all other jades you may call 
beasts." 

With a touch of superstition, too, 
which, as I have already hinted to my 
readers, was not altogether foreign to 
the young man's soul, he remembered 



king's baynaed. 243 

the expression made use of the night 
before by the stable lad, that " t'horse had 
heard the ghost," and that it was the 
only thing that ever scared him. " I, 
too, have heard the ghost," said the heir, 
" and it has scared me so far, that I be- 
lieve in the curse they speak of, with re- 
gard to our house, and I believe that it 
will fall on me." 

It seemed hard that the dark shadow 
should spread its wings so soon ; that 
the little cloud should appear against the 
horizon so early in the joyous day; but 
so it was, the ominous words, pronounced 
by the old man in his wanderings, had 
haunted the upright heir of the disgraced- 
house, since he heard them, " The curse is 
upon it still /" 



e 2 



244 



CHAPTER X. 

" One master passion in the breast, 
Like Aaron's serpent, swallows up the rest." — 

POPE. 

rpHE reader will perhaps remember a 
-*- fact which I mentioned in the first 
part of my story — the birth of an infant 
son to Sir Marmaduke and Lady Baynard, 
which occurred a little before the time 
when our hero took up his abode at the 
home of his ancestors. 

During the short period occupied by 
the events that have been recorded, in- 
cluding a space of about five months, this 
child had grown and prospered mightily, 
and had become the idol of both his 



KING S BAYNARD. 



245 



parents. He was a very comely rosy 
boy, inheriting the beauty of his mother, 
which had once been of a surpassing kind, 
although the fiery passions (all earth-born) 
of her ardent temperament had swept like 
a tornado over her classical features, and 
left only a magnificent sort of desolation, 
painful, and yet fascinating, to behold. 

She had been an opera-singer in her 
youth, of world-wide reputation, but she 
had never been an artist. The grandeur 
and force of her acting had been owing to 
the passionate strength, rather than to 
the loftiness or aspiration of her soul. It 
has been aptly said, that " the winged 
car of Jupiter suggests the notion of a holy 
soul being furnished with wings and soar- 
ing aloft. " 

" The subtler instincts of the sense enthralled 
The passions raised and thro' the mortal part 
Th' immortal touched, to heaven's gate unappalled 
The soul rides buoyant on the wings of art." 



246 king's baynard. 

" The unholy soul," on the contrary, the 
soul in which the divine element has no 
upward yearning, (i loses its wings and 
feathers, flutters downwards, and becomes 
an earth worshipper." 

Carlo tta — I will not add the English 
name, which weds incongruously with the 
soft Italian — Carlo tta had been an earth 
worshipper in the zenith of her artist 
life ; it was scarcely probable that she 
would spread her wings and soar, now that 
time had blasted the imperial gift, which 
had once made her empress over the pas- 
sions of men. 

Talent, the gift of perception and ex- 
pression, had been made the tool of her 
ambition — but genius, the spark kindled 
from the altar fires of heaven, she had 
never possessed. 

Before proceeding farther with the de- 
scription of a household, which I would 
fain have passed over in silence, but for 



king's batnaed. 247 

the bud of rosy innocence, round whose 
cradle the plot of my story is woven, I 
must make the reader acquainted with 
the fact that the once notorious woman, 
to whom I am about to introduce him, 
known to the world then under the name 
of Lady Baynard, was the mother of the 
beautiful Ninon, whom we have seen in- 
stalled with tender triumph, on the part 
of her husband, the mistress of one of the 
proudest homes of the country which had 
adopted her as its own. This, indeed, 
was a fact unknown to Mrs. Vavasour, 
who had never been acquainted with the 
history of her unhappy mother, shielded 
from the saddening influence which such 
knowledge would have cast over her life, 
by the tender forethought of her more than 
father. 

She had told her husband in perfect 
good faith her own history, as far as she 
was herself informed upon the subject. 



248 king's baynaed. 

In as few words as might be, she had 
told him of her mother's desertion of her, 
and of her noble young father's unhappy 
end ; but that her mother lived and, in her 
own way, prospered, she did not tell him, 
for she believed her to have been long 
since dead. 

No spark of maternal affection, had ever 
stirred the passionate heart of the " Syren 
of the South," for her first and, till the 
birth of little Marmaduke, her only child. 
The remembrance of the dismal chateau 
and of the cold patrician state with which 
she had been made bitterly acquainted for 
a short era in her life, had ever had the 
effect of bringing a shudder to her soul 
as she thought of it ; and the memory of the 
bright-faced child that had been born to 
her there, had never awoke the mother's 
yearnings in her bosom, or planted one 
sting of regret for her hapless and aban- 
doned fate. Sir Marmaduke was not the 



king's baynakd. 249 

Englishman who had been the partner of 
her flight on that occasion ; she had lived a 
wild tempestuous life, and had experienced 
many vicissitudes before we meet her again 
in the position of the acknowledged wife of 
the reprobate baronet, in which position 
only her fortunes become interwoven with 
the thread of this tale. 

She and her husband had taken up their 
abode in Paris for the winter. Their 
immense wealth enabled them to live in 
luxury wherever they chose to pitch their 
tent; but with the daily growth of the 
fair babe, there grew up a fear in the 
mother's heart which made her live less 
in the enjoyment of present good, than in 
the shadowed dread of evil to come. Am- 
bition, as far as she was concerned, had 
been rewarded beyond her expectations. 
At the eleventh hour she had been per- 
mitted, in consideration of her approaching 
maternity, to share the title of the English 



250 king's batnahd. 

" mi-lor" whose wealth she had before 
shared in dishonour; and now with a 
stronger motive power agitating her stormy 
breast, she began to plot and scheme, not 
for her own aggrandizement, but for that 
of her idolized child. 

Sir Marmaduke was rich — he possessed 
in his own country, she knew, a lordly in- 
heritance, and it became the darling object 
of her life, that this inheritance should 
descend to the little Marmaduke to the 
exclusion of his elder brother. 

She knew but little of English laws of 
primogeniture, and believed that it lay in 
the power of the father to declare the 
child his sole heir. She saw with delight 
how his fondness for the son of his old 
age grew and daily increased. In the 
days of his foppish youth, an infant had 
been held in abomination by him. He 
had never been known to take his first 
born into his arms, although the young 



king's baynahd. 251 

motlier of that child had tried to awaken 
on his account the feelings of affection, 
that as regarded herself, were either dying 
or dead. He would, on the contrary, send 
daily for the little Marmaduke, and lavish 
on him such caresses as his sterile nature 
could afford. If there was one tender 
spot in the heart of the painted and 
padded old relic of a profligate youth, it 
was occupied by the child who was seldom 
out of his mother's arms. 

The wealth of the Baronet was at that 
time very great. The extravagances of 
his youth had never made any real inroad 
upon the bulk of his fortune, and the 
avarice of his old age added to the list of 
vices which had earned for Sir Marmaduke 
Baynard an unenviable notoriety. 

There was one subject which Carlotta 
had not yet dared to broach to her hus- 
band, although it was the subject of her 
daily and hourly meditation — the expe- 



252 king's baynaed. 

diency of making his will. Should he die 
intestate, she had ascertained from the 
family solicitor (or rather from his partner, 
Mr. Nathaniel Lines, who was gradually- 
taking his place) that the elder son would 
inherit all the landed property, from which 
the revenues of wealth were -derived ; and 
the object of Carlotta's life was now to 
induce Sir Marmaduke to make a will, a 
document in which she believed as in a mys- 
terious occult power, to be invoked for the 
benefit of her own son. 

She would sit for hours with the child upon 
her lap, lost in thought, while he amused 
himself with the long snake-like tresses of 
her still abundant hair, which uncoiled 
themselves with their own weight, and fell in 
ebon scrolls into his outstretched fingers. 

Sometimes she sang to him songs of 
the sunny south, as softly as some gentle 
golden-haired matron of the western isles ; 
and the babe would listen in apparently 



king's baynakd. 253 

entranced enjoyment, to the low melodious 
notes, as he ceased to entangle his fingers 
amongst her hair, and gazed into her face 
with that enquiring stare, with which in- 
fants appear to be endeavouring to pene- 
trate the secrets of humanity. 

One winter's day, in her luxurious 
Parisian boudoir, she sat with him thus, 
sometimes singing, and every now and 
then straining the child to her heart with 
a passionate caress. 

" Bless thee!" she said softly in the 
low sweet accents of the tongue which 
should be " writ on satin." " Bless thee 
sweet babe ! for thee, I would dare all ; for 
thee I would lay down my life, sweetest 
and fairest of God's creatures art thou ! 
thou hast brought joy into my heart ! Thou 
art an angel ! a rose ! a pearl !" 

Then with a sudden change of mood, she 
fiercely exclaimed, " and yet thy mother 
fears to dare for thee this old man's wrath, 



254 king's baynaed. 

and thou wilt be a beggar and an outcast 
at thy father's gate. No ! I will do it !" 
she almost shrieked in her vehemence. 
" I will beard him, I will threaten, I will 
command /" she said stamping her foot, 
while the lightning flashed again in her 
faded eyes, lighting up her face with the 
terror, if not the beauty of the past. 

The child cried. The outburst of the 
tigress nature on the part of its dam, 
scared the innocent quickly beating heart, 
and it lifted up its voice and wept ; at the 
sight, the mother melted into gentleness 
once again, as she tried to soothe its 
tender grief, " Hush thee, my babe ! hush 
thee ! we will drive the wolf from the door, 
did I scare thee, sweet one ? Hush thee, 
hush thee, on thy mother's breast." 

Gradually she succeeded in tranquillizing 
the child, and was herself yielding to the 
gentle influences she had brought to bear 
upon him, when she was aroused by the 



king's baynard. 255 

sound of many footsteps on the stairs ; 
the sound of heavy shuffling footsteps, as 
of those who carry a powerless form, a 
helpless burden between them, a heavy 
helpless burden unable to shift for itself. 
Carlotta, Lady Baynard, turned pale at 
the sound, but she turned paler still, 
and there was a fearful expression on the 
hard livid face, as her own maid rushed 
into the room, exclaiming in her native 
tongue, 

" It is Sir Marmaduke, my lady, he has 
fallen in the streets — he is ill — he is dying ! 
they have sent for the doctor, but he has 
already ceased to breathe." 

" Dead !" exclaimed Lady Baynard, with 
a concentration of agonized suspense, that 
kept her from crying, or shrieking aloud, 
as her demonstrative nature would have 
prompted. "Not dead, my girl? My God !" 
she added, as the terror of the past over- 
mastered her, and she wrung her hands in 



256 king's baynard. 

anguish. " He shall not be dead ! it is too 
soon — too soon 1" and placing the child 
in the arms of the trembling maid, she 
flew to the room into which the shuffling 
feet had passed but an instant back, but 
the door of which was already closed to 
the mistress of the establishment, by the 
English valet of her own husband. 

This man was a ruling power in that 
strange household, and Carlo tta's haughty 
spirit succumbed before his. 

" Let me pass," she said imploringly, as 
he stood doggedly in front of her, so that 
she could not even obtain a view of the 
ghastly object which she knew was so near 
at hand. " Let me see whether he still 
breathes — let me — I entreat you to let me 
pass!" she gasped, fetching her breath 
heavily, for the tumult of her soul was pas- 
sionate, and shook her with so much 
fury, that baffled and circumvented, she 
ended by swooning at his feet. 



king's baynaed. 257 

To account for this audacity on the part 
of the servant, it will be necessary to ex- 
plain that although nominally filling this 
position in the baronet's household, no 
menial office was ever performed by Sir 
Marmaduke's English valet, Luke Grim- 
stone. A confidential companion, brother, 
friend, any one of these titles would have 
suited this exalted personage, better than 
the one of s&rvcmt to which, indeed, he 
could not have laid claim — for he served 
nobody, not even Sir Marmaduke for whom 
he entertained an affection, thus earning 
for himself a distinction from the rest of 
creation; for he was perhaps the only 
human beino^ existing at that time, who 
did entertain any affection for that singu- 
larly unamiable individual. 

The affection, too, was returned after a 
fashion ; the two men understood each 
other, and were dependant upon and 
useful to one another; besides, they had 

vol. i. s 



258 king's baynard. 

been brought up from childhood at the 
same woman's knee, and were foster- 
brothers. On Mrs. Grimstone had de- 
volved the maternal task, which the good 
doctor advised Lady Baynard so graphi- 
cally not to attempt. 

It had happened that the wife of the 
lodge-keeper at King's Baynard had given 
birth to a boy on the same night as the 
young heir was born, and being a strong 
healthy young woman, the doctor had 
strongly recommended her as a nurse to 
the motherless infant. She and her hus- 
band, therefore, had shared the night of 
Sir Mark after the unlucky affair of the 
hind murder, and the two children — for 
Mrs. Grimstone's own child grew, and 
flourished, contrary to the general rule 
in such cases — were brought up, or rather 
ran up together — the parents seeing with 
delight the influence which the strong 
nature acquired over the weak, giving 



king's baynard. °.59 

promise tliat in the course of time', Master 
Luke Grimstone would be the show-man 
to Sir Marmaduke Baynard the puppet, to 
be worked at the pleasure of his stronger 
will. So, indeed, it had turned out, Sir 
Marmaduke had done many dishouourable 
actions, as the world counts dishonour, 
and many bad actions, judged by a higher 
standard than that which the world is 
content to abide by ; but he had done no 
action, whether dishonourable, bad, or 
mean, in which he had not been prompted 
by his friend and foster-brother, Luke 
Grimstone. 

Small chance would Carlotta, Lady Bay- 
nard herself have had with the Baronet, 
if the secret councils of this mysterious 
power had not aided and abetted her in 
her suit. 

For some reason of his own, he had 
judged it expedient that the mistress 
should be converted into the wife, and 

s 2 



260 king's baynard. 

the obdurate Sir Marmaduke became as 
wax in his hands. The results we have 
seen ; but the reader is mistaken if he 
believes the syren had exercised her spells 
upon this man, and won him over to her 
side by the irresistible powers of fascina- 
tion. Quite the reverse, the poor woman 
herself trembled under the dominion of this 
household autocrat, and when she had told 
her child that she dreaded the old man's 
wrath, it was the wrath of Mr. Luke Grim- 
stone of which she was virtually in dread. 

Before making this digression, we left 
the unfortunate woman in a swoon, prone 
at the feet of the contemptuous valet ; 
who, upon seeing her condition, very cooly 
closed the door upon her prostrate form, 
moving it, in fact, out of the way with 
his foot, and having thus secured a few 
moments of privacy before the arrival 
of the doctor, he hastened to search 
the pockets of the unconscious man, 



king's baynard. 261 

in order to possess himself of his keys. 

He was the same age to a day as Sir 
Marmaduke, both men being about fifty 
years old; but whilst the latter, whose 
constitution, inherited from his mother, 
was broken and decayed, looked nearer 
seventy than fifcy, the valet might have 
passed for forty-five — for he was tall and 
upright, and his dark hair, of which he had 
a profusion, was but very slightly streaked 
with grey. 

Sir Marmaduke was fond of mentioning 
the fact of their ages being the same; 
certainly no one would have guessed it, if 
he had not been so communicative on the 
subject. 

Mr. Grimstone had only just completed 
the business which must have been of 
paramount importance in his eyes, or he 
would first have satisfied his solicitude 
on his master's account — for he was so- 
licitous, although the cold-blooded pro- 



262 etng's baynard. 

ceeding here chronicled would justify the 
reader in arriving at an opposite conclu- 
sion — when the arrival of the English 
doctor made a stir in the alarmed house- 
hold. 

He was a grave, severe-looking man ; 
and he administered a trenchant reproach 
to the foreign maid-servants, who were 
chattering volubly together, while their 
mistress still lay in the passage, standing 
so much in need of their assistance. 

He gave orders that she should be car- 
ried to her own apartment, " she can be 
of no use here," he said quickly and au- 
thoritatively in French ; " and take away 
also that screaming child. The room 
must be cleared at once" 

The Doctor's accent was decidedly angli- 
cised ; but his actions were expressive and 
intelligible enough, and the sick room was 
soon cleared of all but the English doctor, 
and the English valet. 



KIND'S BAYNAED. 263 

" "WTiat relations has Sir Marmaduke," 
asked the Doctor, " besides these ?" he 
added, with a gesture expressive of con- 
tempt for the domestic life of the sick 
man, as far as it had come under his cog- 
nizance. 

" He has a son in England," was the 
short reply. 

" Let him he sent for at once," said the 
Doctor. 

" What do you think of the case ?" asked 
Luke Grimstone then ; for he had known 
all along that Sir Marmaduke was not 
dead, although the foreign servants had 
said so, and he did not choose to contradict 
them. 

" I think it a bad one," replied the 
Doctor, " but by no means a hopeless 
one." He then proceeded to give direc- 
tions to the valet, with regard to the reme- 
dies to be employed, and the medicines to 
be given ; but neither of the two men re- 



264 king's baynard . 

ferred either in word, or hint, to the 
sick man's wife, who had a right, if so 
minded, to take up her station at his bed- 
side, and to nurse him either for life or 
death. 

Lady Baynard, indeed, sorely lamented 
her husband during the remainder of the 
day, and through the gloomy hours of the 
ensuing night, before any of her house- 
hold thought it worth their while to inform 
her that Sir Marmaduke was not dead. 

Neither did any one think it worth while 
to inform the son in England, of whom 
Mr. Luke Grimstone had made rather con- 
temptuous mention, that the life of his 
father was trembling in the balance, and 
that a hair's breadth more or less might 
put him in possession of the inheritance 
which had become so fair in his eyes. The 
only person written to in England with 
reference to the baronet's illness, was the 
Elminster Solicitor, Mr. Nathaniel Lines. 



265 



CHAPTER XL 

" All tongues speak of him." 

CORIOTANTJS. 

T T was on a Friday that the famous run 
-*- took place, which I am told lives still in 
the remembrance of the members of the 
Derefordshire hunt, and it was of course 
very fully discussed in Elminster on the fol- 
lowing Saturday. The terrible jump taken 
by " young John" on his famous chestnut 
Orion, the subsequent death of the latter, 
and the jealousy of the hard riding men, 
who declared that the leap had been much 
magnified by report — all these facts made 
a rich harvest of gossip on that day ; and 
many bets were made and taken on the 



266 king's baynakd. 

subject, in the excitement of the moment 
which were in some cases afterwards re- 
gretted, and in others altogether ig- 
nored. 

There was one object very conspicuous 
to all beholders, which was the white hat 
of Mr. Lines, the attorney. It fluttered 
about from group to group, gathering 
within its shabby circumference the pith 
of all the gossip which circulated in the 
social veins of the county, that Saturday. 

There was another well known figure, 
which, according to the remark of a 
celebrated statesman, was only " conspicu- 
ous from its absence" from the centre of 
public resort — the figure of no less a person- 
age than our hero " young John," who had 
hardly ever been known to miss riding into 
town on Saturday afternoons. It was this 
circumstance, perhaps, which had made 
gossip dull and slander silent concerning 
the Baynard family, since the advent of 



king's baynard. 267 

its representative in the county. Elmin- 
ster was the centre of gossip, the bar at 
the "Red Lion" the centre of Elminster ; 
and as long as the frequenters of that bar 
believed it to be not only possible, but 
probable, that the fiery-hearted heir of 
the disgraced house might come suddenly 
within ear- shot and take any slander that 
might be afloat boldly by the horns, they 
handled very warily the subject concern- 
ing which he had taken the initiative, by 
being profoundly reticent. 

No one would have mentioned in his 
presence the names either of Sir Marma- 
duke or Lady Baynard, or even that of 
his infant brother; and without the stand- 
point of a name, how can the lovers of 
gossip move the pulses of the gossiping 
world. 

The tongue of Mr. Nathaniel Lines, 
indeed, would neither have wagged so 
long nor so loud, amid the hum of voices, 



268 king's baynard. 

which increased as the day went on, 
had he not received authentic communi- 
cation from Dr. Blake that "young 
John" was safe for the afternoon, at- 
tending at the bedside of the aged 
Rector, who was progressing favourably, 
and able to enjoy the society of the " dear 
lad," as he fondly called the heir, although 
the latter was fully arrived at man's es- 
tate. 

The fever of youth, indeed, appeared 
to have returned to the veins of the old 
man, and he listened to the animated 
account of the yesterday's run, as a su- 
perannuated hunter to the cry of the 
hounds. 

" Famous, capital !" he exclaimed re- 
peatedly. His delight was great in hear- 
ing of the signal defeat of the tactics of 
the Elminster attorney. 

" He was coming up to his fence as 
I went down, Sir ; but he had all his 



king's baynaed. 269 

ground to regain. I made up my mind 
then ; but it was like riding into chaos. 
I don't know now how we did it." 

" You'll not part with the chestnut 
now ?" observed the Rector, interroga- 
tively ; for the fate of the gallant horse 
had been kept back by Mr. Baynarcl, and 
he now replied with an evasion, 

" No, nothing shall part us now." He 
did not wish to sadden the old man's 
heart, with the announcement that no- 
thing ever could; but he added, in the 
bitterness of his own remorse, " Poor 
fellow ! I was riding him to sell." 

Then he diverged into other gossip, 
finding his old friend in such a buoyant 
mood, and told him of the success of 
the ball on the night he was taken ill, 
of the superlative beauty of Mrs. Vava- 
sour, the bride, and of the ovation which 
had been paid to her charms. 

" They must be well paired," remarked 



270 king's baynard. 

Mr. Trevylian, thoughtfully, "he was a 
fine-looking young fellow, as I remember 
him." 

" Young: John " could harcllv refrain 
from laughing aloud at the description, 
as applied to the stately elderly man, 
whom, as a very young man himself, he 
looked upon in the light of a venerable 
greybeard. 

" That must have been some time ago, 
Sir," he confined himself, however, to 
remarking, adding, after a pause, " He 
is a very fine-looking man now; but in 
age, he and his wife are a decided and 
remarkable contrast." 

" What could have made him marry 
so young and beautiful a woman, I won- 
der?" Mr. Trevylian said, musingly, "it 
seldom answers." 

" I don't know what made him do it, 
excepting his own inclination, which no 
one can wonder at ; but I know that 



king's baynard. 271 

it is a very good thing for the county, 
for Mrs. Vavasour is a charming woman." 

u It will hardly conduce to the elderly 
bridegroom's domestic happiness, that all 
the good-looking young men should think 
so," said Mr. Trevylian, in reply to this 
remark, with rather a mournful smile. 
" Will you promise me something, dear 
lad ?" he added, placing his thin, tremu- 
lous hand upon the young man's, and 
looking him earnestly in the face, " will 
you promise me never to flirt with a 
married woman ? Forgive me," he added, 
as the cloud gathered on " young John's" 
bVow, and fire danced in his eyes for a 
moment, " I am very jealous for the 
honour, for the glory of your house — 
and beauty has been a great snare to 
your race in days long passed away." 

" I have nothing to forgive, I am 
deeply indebted to you," answered the 
younger man ; but he added, solemnly, 



272 king's baynard. 

and in his turn scanning his companion's 
countenance eagerly, " I am beginning to 
fear that the glory you speak of has passed 
away, never to return. I have tried hard, 
Sir, to lay the ghost of our past, but it 
meets me at every turn." 

" Persevere, dear lad, persevere," an- 
swered the old man, " something within 
tells me that you will restore honour to 
the name of Baynard. I have watched 
over you — " and here his voice was 
broken with a sob, "as though you had 
been my own son, and when I first saw 
you, I felt inclined to say ' Lord, now 
lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,' 
for I felt that you were noble at the 
core." 

The old man showed so much emotion 
at this stage in the conversation, that Mr. 
Baynard feared he had done harm by en- 
couraging him to talk, and after one or 
two soothing remarks upon more general 



king's baynaed. 273 

subjects, lie announced his intention of 
leaving him to enjoy a doze. 

It struck him as a curious thing, that 
the very fact of his illness appeared to 
have lifted the veil which had hung like 
a cloud over the old man's life, as he had 
hitherto known it, and a mental reaction 
had evidently taken place, which surprised 
as well as delighted the young man who 
looked upon him in the light of a father. 

" I have never seen your master so 
cheerful, or found him so talkative," he 
said to Mrs. Meredith, as he left the 
Eectory, promising to return later, " I 
was only afraid he would talk too much." 

" Did he tell you about what he's been 
asking of me to do, Sir?" said the house- 
keeper with tears in her eyes. 

" No, he did not mention anything in 
particular. What is it, Mrs. Meredith? 
anything in which I can be of use ?" 

" Oh, dearie no, Sir, dearie no, I oughtn't 

VOL. I. T 



274 king's baynaed. 

to have said nothing to you about it, if the 
master hasn't told ; but," she added, with 
the feminine logic which always errs on 
the communicative side, " perhaps he did 
not tell you because he thought I should. 
He's been asking of me to write to Miss 
Trevylian, Sir, to come and nurse him ; 
but I'd rather nurse him myself, poor 
dear soul," she added, with a burst of 
tears, " and I thought I'd better bide a 
bit. It might be only a sick fancy, and then 
he'd worrit hisself about it as he got round." 
" I think you did right," said " young 
John," upon whose mental vision fell the 
image of a be-flounced prim spinster, the 
shadow of whose gaunt presence came 
like a cloud between him and his dear 
old friend, " I think we can manage to 
nurse your master between us, we must 
not run the risk of entailing an after regret 
if this should prove, as you say, an 
invalid's fancy." 



king's baynakd. 275 

As the young man walked home, how- 
ever, he came to the conclusion that he 
had acted selfishly, and he resolved when 
he dropped in that evening, to reverse the 
verdict he had pronounced, and to advise 
the good woman to obey her master's be- 
hests at once. 

Never, indeed, had his impressionable 
nature drank so deeply of the softening 
influences so opposed to self-hood in any 
shape, than it had done upon that after- 
noon ; and as though the outward face of 
nature would contribute her meed to the 
good work, never had King's Baynard 
appeared so lovely in the eyes of her 
heir. The distant belts of woodland were 
of a deep and beautiful blue, and glimpses 
of them between the sun-lio*htecl boulders 
of the trees in the avenue afforded one 
of those peculiar winter effects, which 
are as rare as they are transcendently 
grand. 

t2 



276 king's baynaed. 

Against some lake of pure bine ether 
in the storm-ridclen sky, the gnarled and 
twisted branches of the ancient trees rose 
like giant arms fixed into contortion in 
the agonies either of passion or death, 
while a dark pregnant cloud hovered over 
the old Hall itself, an emblem of the curse 
that was upon it. The landscape pre- 
sented an epitome of the history of King's 
Baynard for the greater part of a century ; 
but, as the glistening sunbeams were upon it 
then struggling bravely for the mastery, 
there was a bright spot in its moral life, 
struggling against the past for good. 

" It is too late to go into town now," 
said Mr. Baynard to Saunders, as, on 
paying his usual visit to the stables, he 
found a horse saddled in anticipation of 
the observance of the habit which was 
thus broken through for the first time. 
He felt, indeed, more inclined for a soli- 
tary walk, and thus it fell out that on 



king's baynard. 277 

a more important occasion than usual, 
Mr. Nathaniel Lines had the field to 
himself, and that he was enabled to discuss 
matters relative to King's Baynard and 
its heir with greater licence and daring 
than usual. 

Men, indeed, disliked the attorney tho- 
roughly; but there is something in tho- 
rough-going ill-nature which has a grim 
sort of fascination to most of us ; and a 
man who can say sharp, stinging things 
that strike to the quick of the weaknesses, 
or worse of our friends and neighbours, is 
generally considered good company by 
better natured men of the world. 

Mr. Lines on that particular day, too, 
had news of a startling character to 
impart, news that had come to the 
office that morning, and with which no 
other soul in Elminster — with the ex- 
ception of the senior partner — could by 
any possibility be acquainted. 



278 king's baynabd. 

" Sir Marmaduke Baynard had had a 
stroke, and .his man of business had been 
summoned to attend him on matters of 
great importance, with reference to the dis- 
posal of his property." 

This was the substance of the communica- 
tion as imparted by Mr. Lines, and no news 
concerning the profligate baronet had been 
so greedily received for years as was this 
foreshadowing of his speedy demise. He 
had, indeed, for years been regarded as a my- 
thical being, and men had never endowed 
himin imagination so tangibly with flesh and 
blood as they did upon this occasion, when 
they were told that he was most probably 
on the point of shuffling off this mortal 
coil. Their thoughts naturally at once 
reverted to the popular heir, and "young 
John " and his fortunes were, owing to his 
unusual absence, more amply discussed 
than they had ever been before at the bar 
of the " Red Lion" that day. 



king's baynabd. 279 



a t 



Young John ' is all right in any 
case," said a voice, which, as it apper- 
tained to no one with whom the reader 
will have anything further to do in the 
pages of this history, need not be par- 
ticularly appropriated ; " the Baynard pro- 
perty is strictly entailed." 

" On the eldest son born in wedlock — 
ahem — yes," said the attorney, giving a 
snake-like hiss to the last letter of the 
monosyllable, "yes," "the property is 
strictly entailed; but Sir Marmaduke is 
not dead yet, gentlemen, not dead yet." 

{i More's the pity," remarked an out- 
spoken country squire, with a florid face 
and an honest eye, " he is a rascal, if ever 
one lived on this earth. He never showed 
his face here again after that ugly business 
about the cards. Turned and refused to 
fight Tom Eden, who gave him a squeak 
for his honour, which he need not have 
done. Why, I remember the whole 



280 king's baynard. 

affair, as if it happened but yesterday. 
He was a cur, Sir, a sneaking, rascally 
cur." 

" It's in the blood," observed Mr. Lines 
blandly, " with all their bluster, there has 
been no Baynard of late years free from 
the taint." 

" What do you mean by that assertion, 
Sir ?" said a hot-blooded young man, in 
whose keeping "young John's" honour 
would have been safe as in his own, 
" you'd find it hard to make your words 
good in one quarter, I take it ; you forget 
you include John Baynard in your un- 
qualified remark." 

" I stand corrected," answered Mr. 
Lines, with a bitter smile. " I was not 
thinking of Mr. John when I spoke of 
the Baynards." 

" Then you would do well to be more 
careful in your choice of words for the 
future, Sir, as Mr. Baynard told you the 



king's baynaed. 281 

other day at his own table," was the angry 
reply. 

The minimum of blood which the at- 
torney's wizen body contained, flew into 
his face at that speech. He was no craven, 
as I have observed before ; but he well 
knew that the hits of the fomsrue tell better 
in some cases than the blows of the fist ; 
and he went into training from that hour 
to be prepared to administer them, when 
occasion offered, thick and fast, on some 
vulnerable point of the young man's moral 
frame. 

Mr. Nathaniel Lines, I need hardly tell 
the reader, after the sketch I have given 
of his character, was a bitter and impla- 
cable enemy. The news of Sir Marina- 
duke's illness once set abroad, flew like 
wildfire over the town ; but the one most 
concerned in it, and to whom the fact was 
of the greatest moment, remained unaware 
of the serious illness of the Baronet, his 



282 king's baynaed. 

unworthy parent. The English doctor's 
advice had not been taken, the son in 
England had not been summoned to the 
sick bed, nor had any one thought it 
worth while to inform him of his father's 
precarious state. Mr. Lines, however, 
had strongly coloured the statement which 
had been received at the office, from the 
glowing palette of his imagination, and 
given a meaning to the words which did 
not exist in their original form. Business 
had, of course, been mentioned in the 
letter which summoned his man of busi- 
ness to attend the Baronet abroad, but 
no mention was made of the testatory 
nature of that business, which the wily 
solicitor's version had more than implied. 

" That's the reason, I suppose, 6 young 
John ' is not in to-day," remarked the 
worthy old gentleman, who had evinced so 
much curiosity with regard to the future 
disposal of the King's Baynard living. 



KING S BAYNAED. 283 

" I incline to think not, Squire," an- 
swered Mr. Lines. " He is not likely to 
receive auy communication with regard to 
his father, for they are on the worst of 
terms, as I have good authority for saying. 
Sir Marmaduke can hardly bear the men- 
tion of his name." 

" Indeed ! I was not aware of that. I 
am glad you mentioned it, because I shall 
know better how to set to work. With 
regard to that living, you know," he added, 
getting confidential, and placing his hand 
on the attorney's shoulder, " I want some 
one to do me a good turn, in case that 
living should fall vacant, and from what 
you say, I suppose it's of no use applying 
to ' young John ' himself." 

" Not unless you want to burn your 
fingers pretty considerably, Squire — cer- 
tainly not," said Mr. Lines, rubbing his 
hands, a practice common with him when 
enjoying a good joke, with regard to the 



284 king's baynabd. 

weakness or short-sightedness of his fellow 
plotters. " You'll be quite in the wrong box 
if you set to work in that way. Why Sir 
Marmaduke would no sooner think of lis- 
tening to any suggestions that Mr. John 
might make in the matter, than he would 
think of listening to mine, I was going to 
say : but hang it, if I don't think there's 
a better chance of that than the other. On 
my honour — now I do." 

Here was a hint thrown out, of which the 
Squire, knowing his man, was not slow to 
see the point ; and Mr. Nathaniel Lines 
knew perfectly well what he meant, when, 
before leaving town, he sought him out 
and asked him to come over to the 
" Court" any day after his return, and 
" have a crack at the pheasants — bring a 
friend with you, if you like." 

Here was a good stroke of business 
done, by a mere wag of the well-oiled 
tongue; for I need hardly say that any 



king's batnaed. 235 

mention of the Baynard living to Sir Mar- 
maduke, with reference to the interests of 
the pompous Squire, was as far from the 
attorney's thoughts, as one pole from its 
opposite — but he said, 

" All right, Squire," with a knowing 
wink, the meaning of which detracted from 
that worthy but obtuse gentleman's self- 
respect as he drove home to the " Court," 
chewing the cud of the reflection that he 
had lowered himself in the eyes of the 
Squirearchy, by his connection " over the 
way," with Nat. Lines the attorney. 

" I should like to find out how the land 
lies though," he consoled himself with 
thinking ; for he was one of those men 
who, hopelessly inadequate to the task, are 
ever plotting and planning with a view to 
some impossible end, which like the chalk 
egg, with which the knowing hen-wife 
deludes the silly hen, does not possess in 
itself the element of fruition. 



286 king's baynard. 

" Have you seen anything of my wife 
and daughter ?" asked a well muffled 
elderly gentleman, looking in at the bar, 
which commanded a view of the entrance 
by which the ladies who had been in town 
shopping, sought the private rooms, in 
which they waited for their carriages and 
indulged in feminine gossip with friends 
from the other side. 

" They came in an half-an-hour ago, 
Sir, and are waiting in No. 20, the ladies 
are, Sir," said the loquacious waiter, who 
had lived all his life, man and boy as he 
said himself, at the " Red Lion," and was 
much patronized by the frequenters of that 
hostelry, in consequence of his ready wit 
and obliging manners. 

I was in Elminster a week or two ago, 
and found to my sorrow, that the good 
old " Red Lion," with its familiar faces of 
landlord and landlady, waiter and ostler, 
bar and chambermaid, with its well filled 



king's batnaed. 287 

stables, and well equipped drivers and 
" boys" had passed into the hands of a 
" company" — all individuality, all identity 
swamped and absorbed by that monstrous 
plural life, which is as awe-inspiring and 
as unsympathetic with the joys and sorrows 
of common humanity, as the terrible 
editorial ive. The waiter was " a stranger 
to the place," and although included in 
the charges, hovered around with terrible 
and almost threatening significance, as the 
time for departure drew nigh. The fly 
was from the station, and the porter from 
the station rivalled the waiter in the perti- 
nacity of his attentions to No. 5 — for I 
was reduced to No. 5, in the dear old 
town which I had known from infancy, 
and in the dear old inn where I had 
once been an honoured guest. Thus 
I took my leave of Elminster under 
the incognita which I had no wish 
to maintain ; under the veil of unin- 



288 king's baynard. 

teresting mystery, which veiled No. 5 
as with a leaden shroud. 

Mr. Town-Eden — for it was our old ac- 
quaintance who had made the enquiry 
with regard to his wife and daughter that 
led to this digression — betook himself to 
No. 20, to look for the women-kind, to 
ask for instructions concerning the car- 
riage, and to retail into their willing ears 
some of the gossip which had been rife 
in Elminster on that occasion. Of course, 
it did not lose either in interest or impor- 
tance in the telling, and the trumpet-like 
announcement of, " The old baronet's 
dying or dead, and we shall have ' young 
John ' in for the property and the title 
before we can look round," brought the 
hot flush into the cheek of Margaret, who 
had not yet learned to hear that name 
mentioned with the high-bred indifference 
of a Yere de Yere. 

" Sir Marmaduke dying !" exclaimed 



king's baynaed. 289 

Mrs. Town-Eden, coming to the rescue, 
and her thoughts involuntarily reverted 
to the time when she had flirted with 
the foppish young Baronet in his own 
youth; "it is shocking to think of, for 
he is not by any means an old man, my 
dear." 

" Old in iniquity," answered Mr. Town- 
Eden, "if 'young John's' all right, it's 
the best news I have heard for many a 
day ;" and then the voluble old gentleman, 
who invariably got harmlessly excited 
under the influence of social intercourse 
and brandy and water, began to describe 
to his daughter the brilliant run of the 
day before, and the daring feat of" young 
John " on the chestnut. Margaret's cheek 
grew pale as her father graphically de- 
scribed the danger of the leap, and the 
tears gathered in her eyes as he ended 
his narration with the account of the death 
of Orion. 

vol. i. u 



290 king's baynard. 

" Broke his heart, and fell as if he had 
been shot." 

" Poor beast," she said, " T wish there 
had been no such tragedy to end with. He 
was a splendid horse. Is Mr. Baynard in 
town to-day, papa?" she added, with as 
much indifference as she could assume ; for 
she had sorely missed his usual friendly 
greeting, and began to think the task she 
had set herself of forgetting, was not such 
an easy one as she could have wished. 

" I have not seen him," was the reply, 
" and I should incline to think not, by the 
way that fellow Lines is making free 
with his name down below. He'll get 
into trouble with ' Sir John,' if he doesn't 
take care what he is about." 

" I suppose there is no doubt about his 
coming into the property and the title," 
remarked Mrs. Town-Eden, half to her- 
self, but loud enough to be heard by the 
Squire, who said, irascibly enough, 



KING S BAYXAKD. 291 

" Doubt — what in Heaven's name are 
you thinking of, ma'am ? What doubt 
can there possibly be, with regard to 
an eldest son inheriting an entailed pro- 
perty ? You are as bad as Nat Lines him- 
self." 

" There, don't put yourself out, papa," 
said the good-tempered woman, who was 
accustomed to the harmless ebullitions of 
wrath on the part of her liege lord, " but 
order the carriage up at once, for it is 
getting late, and we shall be benighted 
before we get home. 

As Mrs. Town-Eden and her daughter 
made their way through the crowd of men 
who thronged the entrance to the inn, the 
latter missed for the first time the gallant 
attentions of her gentle knight, who was 
in the habit of escorting them to their 
carriage; and she felt her colour rise to 
her temples, as she encountered the rude 
stare of the scions of the Derefordshire 

u 2 



292 king's baynaed. 

squirearchy, who believed it would have 
been derogatory to their manhood to pay 
any of those little attentions which are 
prized so much by the feminine heart. 

"What a set of louts they are," re- 
marked Margaret to her mother, as the 
carriage rumbled under the archway, out 
of the inn-yard, " not one of them had the 
civility to put us into the carriage, or 
hardly to move out of our way." 

"What airs she gives herself," said one 
of the louts in question, between the puffs 
of his cigar, " she was a jolly girl once, 
before she got above herself, and enter- 
tained hopes of ' yonng John.' ' 

" It's all very well, you know," chimed 
in theblack- whiskered squireen, whom Mar- 
garet had snubbed so unmercifully at the 
ball, and who believed himelf to be an 
Adonis on the strength of his black hair 
and whiskers, and the assurances of his 
mamma and sisters to that effect, "he's a 



king's baynakd. 293 

good fellow enough, in his way, is ' young 
John,' but I don't call him a handsome 
fellow, by any means." 

"Don't you?" answered Major Dal- 
keith, a gentleman of the old school, and 
intolerant of the airs of " these puppies 
Sir," as he styled the young men for 
whom Margaret had found an equally con- 
demnatory appelation. " I am sorry to 
hear you say so, because, in that case, 
what must become of you and me, Sir ?" 

As the Major was a plain-featured man, 
who made a boast of his own ugliness, 
this remark told, and silenced the Adonis, 
while it raised shouts of laughter from the 
ranks of his delighted compeers. 

These observations and scraps of con- 
versation worthless in themselves, I have 
recorded here, to show the tone of feeling 
which prevailed in the neighbourhood with 
reference to Mr. Baynarcl ; which took a 
more definite shape than usual, owing to 



294 king's baynabd. 

his non-appearance in the town on that 
occasion of social reunion, and the chance 
of his being placed before long in a more 
important position by the death of his 
father, whose name had been mentioned 
once again with interest, in a locality 
where it had been forgotten for many 
years. 

One curious phase in the many hued life of 
society was developed in this instance : the 
new born doubt, respecting the prospects 
and the security of the incoming heir. It 
is increased, or diminished, in proportion 
to the importance of the interests at 
stake, and the human breast is particu- 
larly open to doubt and distrust in this 
crisis of circumstance, facts which it had ac- 
cepted unquestioned until the time for fulfil- 
ment came upon it like a thief in the 
night. The time of approaching fruition, 
is not the time of belief. This is strik- 
ingly shown in the case of expected 



king's baynahd. 295 

legacies or heirships. " Supposing that he 
has cut me off with a shilling after all," is 
the first thought of a legatee expectant, 
who has kept himself in decent ignorance 
of the wording of his relative's will, and 
doubt is the feeling most prevalent in his 
breast, until the reading of the all im- 
portant document has either sealed his 
hopes in certainty, or condemned them 
to eternal oblivion. 

So when the probability of "young 
John's" becoming speedily master of 
King's Baynard — one of the wealthiest 
baronetcies in the county, was suddenly 
brought into the notice of his friends and 
neighbours — there appeared for the first 
time, the little "reft within the lute," 
which was to produce many a harsh dis- 
cord, and many a bitter twang, before 
certainty was so established, as to the 
key note of the strain, which can alone 
ring true, either in experienced or inex- 



296 king's baynard. 

perienced hands — the master key of truth. 
If Mr. Nathaniel Lines had a sinister 
purpose in sowing broad cast his seeds 
of doubt in the matter, no such motive 
can surely be attributed to Mrs. Town- 
Eden, who had never entertained a sinister 
purpose in her life. In her case, the 
speculative feeling arose from the veil 
of mystery which had enveloped the history 
of the first Lady Baynard, which constant 
genial intercourse with that lady's son had 
done nothing as yet either to dissipate or 
remove. It was the mere fact of stimu- 
lated curiosity, that in this case originated 
doubt; and the certainty of the succes- 
sion of "young John" to the name and 
estates of his forefathers, had never been 
called into question at all, most probably, 
had he not been hindered by circum- 
stances, from being in Elminster on the 
very day on which the important news 
of Sir Marmaduke's serious illness had 



king's baynard. 297 

reached the office of the wily attorney. 
As lie spent a solitary evening in the 
old manor house, and pondered over many 
things — his own peculiar position among 
the number — he little thought how himself 
and his position were being canvassed at 
almost every country house of any im- 
portance in the neighbourhood, or how 
the legends of the buried past had sprung 
into life, for the benefit of the younger 
members of families, who were not old 
enough to remember how the country had 
once rung with the enquiry, which had of 
late years grown obsolete and forgotten, 
" and who was Lady Baynard ?" 



298 



CHAPTER XII. 

" Her bloom was like the springing flower, 

That sips the silver dew ; 
The rose was budded in her cheek, 

Just opening to the view." 

Percy's relics. 

lyTAEY TREVYLIAN was the great- 
■"-*■ niece of the Rector of King's 
Baynard, the only child and heiress of 
Colonel Trevylian, the last male repre- 
sentative of the elder branch of the 
family. Soldiers and sailors, from time 
immemorial, this gallant race had earned 
to themselves fame rather than wealth; 
but they gloried more in this inheritance, 
and in their well-known soubriquet of 



king's baynard. 299 

" fighting Trevylians," than they would 
have done in any amount of riches, 
amassed in less honourable pursuits. 

The name of the family place was 
Brackenlea. It was situated in the same 
county as King's Baynard, but on the 
opposite side. To this place, and to the 
estates and farms appertaining to it, 
which realized an income of little more 
than twelve hundred a year, Mary Tre- 
vylian was the undisputed heiress. This 
consideration gave her a certain amount 
of weight and importance in the country 
side, and made her hand an object of 
ambition to the poorer among the county 
squirearchy, who had, as they expressed 
it, " sons to marry." 

To tell the truth in the matter, it made 
Miss Trevylian also an object of envy, and 
as a natural consequence, of ill-concealed 
dislike to the matrons and maidens, from 
whose allegiance the young men fell off, 



300 king's baynaed. 

when exposed to the influence of the 
superior charms of the little heiress. 

It was the women, indeed, who had 
given her the title based upon her prestige 
with regard to wealth ; men were more apt 
in their familiar conversation with each 
other, to call her the "little beauty," than 
the " little heiress." 

At the time when " young John " pic- 
tured to himself the unprepossessing image 
of a stern maiden aunt, bristling in stiff 
silks, and with the time-honoured bunch 
of housekeeping keys at her side, this 
blooming creature was a sylph of nine- 
teen, with the lythe movements of a 
fallow deer, and with the same graceful 
poise of the symmetrically-shaped head. 
She was too, of that perfection of stature, 
neither remarkable as being tall, or short ; 
with hands and feet of perfect beauty. 
Those, however, whose eyes rested for the 
first time on the features of this charming 



king's baynakd. 301 

girl let them linger long, before they 
sought the minor graces of her form, 
which in this case, might have been justly 
described as accessories only to the 
crowning fascinations of her face. 

Her picture is before me as I write these 
words ; and the feeling of a beautiful 
dead past steals over me as I gaze upon 
it, and as the the rich scent of rose leaves 
preserved after the fashion of our grand- 
mothers, adds one more touch of the 
" by-gone" to the associations that have 
been thus fondly recalled. 

To describe this picture is a task to 
which I acknowledge myself unequal. It 
has the stamp of that genius which cele- 
brates the nuptials of beauty with art, 
and which sets the seal of its own identity 
on the master-pieces of nature herself. A 
painter can copy a nose, an eye, or a 
mouth ; but it takes a heaven-born artist 
to paint the living soul — a soul such as 



302 king's baynakd. 

that which beams out of the liquid hazel- 
grey eyes, which speak to me from the 
canvass, as they would have spoken in 
life ; awakening the emotions by which 
the in-dwelling divinity within, asserts the 
supremacy of the beautiful, whether in 
nature or art. 

The face is represented' as of an egg- 
shaped oval; the point of the chin ter- 
minating in a delicate upward curve, 
reminding us of the work of a carver in 
ivory, and forming the proper harmonious 
opposition to the curve of the nostril, 
which, sensitive as that of the Arab horse, 
turns down, cutting with a fine stroke the 
transparent cartilage of the nose. That 
feature itself is small, straight, and well 
chiselled, and, combined with the proud 
expression of the short upper lip — of 
which the carnation hue is but a deep- 
ening shade of the bloom of the glowing 
cheek — with the spirited turn of the head, 



king's baynard. 303 

well set upon the rounded neck, makes 
life in the picture the prominent idea. 

The Titian-tinted hair is gathered, a la 
Greuze, from the fair shores of the fore- 
head, and among its masses lies, half 
perdu, the silken sheen of the ribbon 
that confines them, but from whose loving 
embrace every here and there a stray tress 
is allowed to escape. The eyebrows are 
marked, and darker than the hair by se- 
veral shades, lying in delicate tracery 
against the inner brow, if one may be 
allowed thus to describe the part of the 
face which lies between the eye and the 
eyebrow, the shadow upon which is calcu- 
lated to throw into grand relief the fire of 
a deeply set eye. 

Of this last-named feature how inade- 
quate are mere words to tell. The purely 
animal eye, the ox-eye of Juno, or the 
languishing depths of the dark oriental 
orb, are the only eyes, beautiful as they 



304 king's batnard. 

are, of which it is easy to write. They 
flash, they languish, they melt, they are 
large as saucers, and as dusky as night ; 
through them passion speaks, passion un- 
hallowed by the higher aspirations of the 
soul, which can be adequately rendered 
in language that partakes of its own force. 
But eyes at which the spirit dwelling 
within is ever sitting, as at an open 
window — eyes at which each changing 
thought brings a corresponding change 
in expression and in hue — it must, indeed, 
be a moment of inspiration in which the 
artist catches the life, or, as we call it, 
the expression of such eyes as these. 

In the portrait before me, if the eyes 
are not trne, then must the painter, in- 
deed, have caught a spark of the divine 
ideal. 

They are of the warm rich hazel sub- 
siding into grey, into which the hues of 
sunset are largely merged, and which, 



king's baynard. 305 

under the shade of their thickly fringed 
lids, seem to melt depth into depth, until 
the eye of the beholder loses itself in the 
mysteries of shade. They are eyes that, 
in the grand old days when chivalry was 
young, might have won or lost a world, 
eyes that, had they been living, we might 
have gazed on sadly as too bright, and 
beautiful, and tender, for the rough re- 
alities of life ; but which, thus stamped 
in death, with the seal of immortality, 
we gaze into with wonder and delight. 

There can be no doubt but that the 
original of this picture was strikingly 
beautiful, and the halo of romance, which 
among the members of her own family 
even now surrounds her name, bears wit- 
ness to the fact so touchingly rendered by 
the poet, 

" You may break, you may shatter the vase if you will, 
But the scent of the roses will cling to it still." 

Mary Trevylian's mother had died in 
vol. i. x 



306 king's baynabd. 

giving birth to her daughter, the unlooked- 
for child, who came in life's evening tide 
to cheer the declining years of her father, 
Colonel Trevylian, who doted upon the 
infant, the parting gift of the wife he had 
adored. He had been for years a martyr 
to pain, the effect of wounds received in 
honourable service to his king and country, 
and died two years before this tale com- 
mences, leaving his daughter and heiress 
to the motherly care of Aunt Dorothy, her 
mother's elder sister, who had reared her 
from her cradle, and to whom, since the 
death of her father, Mary had clung 
with the whole warmth of her loving 
nature. 

Aunt Dorothy was a single-minded, 
sensible woman, not blinded by her affec- 
tion for her beautiful niece, into over in- 
dulgence to the waywardness and caprices 
of early youth. She had superintended her 
education with scrupulous care, and Mary 



king's baynaed. 307 

Trevylian's accomplishments were not only 
shining, but genuine. She was a good 
musician, an adept at foreign languages, 
a mistress of the beauties and litera- 
ture of her own, and a graceful and 
fearless rider. " Whatever you attempt 
to do," it was one of Aunt Dorothy's max- 
ims "do it iv ell ; if you have neither 
talent or inclination for an accomplish- 
ment, give it up at once." So under her 
auspices, and with great natural gifts 
Mary Trevylian learned to do many things 
well. 

Such was the niece whom the venerable 
Rector of King's Baynard, the only sur- 
viving and best beloved uncle of the late 
Colonel Trevylian, summoned to his bed- 
side. Since the sharp attack of illness 
which had so lately threatened his life, his 
mind had undergone a wonderful and al- 
most resuscitating process, with regard to 
the banishment of the evil cloud which 

x 2 



308 KING'S BAYNATfcD. 

had overshadowed it of late years. It had 
become childlike in its susceptibility to 
outward things, and childlike also in the 
preponderance of the present in the balan- 
ces of life ; the past had lost its bitterness, 
the future its fears for him. 

Free from pain, and with an admirable se- 
renity on his countenance, those who knew 
him well, noted this change, with feelings 
approaching to awe. The old housekeeper, 
Mr. Baynard, and even the Doctor looked 
upon it as the " beginning of the end." 

The following is the letter Mrs. Mere- 
dith, the housekeeper, wrote, and her 
master indited to Mary, the heiress and 
pride of the Trevylians. 

" Dear child, 

11 A dying old man writes to his dear 

great-niece, to his favourite nephew's only 

daughter and says come. She must come 

and nurse him, for his soul yearns for a 



king's baynaed. 309 

sight of her, before he goes home. He 
has but one word to express all that 
he has left to wish for here, and that one 
word is — come." 

This last word Mr. Trevylian wrote 
himself, and it was traced in the trembling 
characters which betokened that the strong 
right hand had indeed forgot its cunning. 
Mary Trevylian wept over this sign of 
decay, in one whom she remembered as 
so determined both in action and will. 

She ran at once to her Aunt, who was 
engaged in some domestic, and to her there- 
fore sacred, avocation, with tears in her 
loving bright eyes, crying, " I must go at 
once, Aunt Dorothy — Uncle Gilbert is ill — 
dying — and he was papa's favourite uncle." 

" What is it you say, my love ? do not be 
so excitable, do not be so impulsive ;" re- 
plied Aunt Dorothy, who although not 
without sympathy and deep feeling herself, 



310 king's baynard. 

disliked nothing so much as having her 
breath taken away as she called it, with 
the over hasty announcement of tidings 
whether evil, or good. 

" Uncle Gilbert is ill — dying I" her niece 
repeated, with every sign of distress on 
her speaking countenance, " and will you, 
please, dear Aunt, make arrangements for 
me to go to him at once." 

It was a very fine trait in MaryTrevylian's 
character, that where she truly loved, her 
self-abnegation knew no bounds. If there 
was one weak point in the nature of the 
dear old woman, to whom every hair on 
Mary's head was more precious than the 
wealth of the Indies, it was her love of 
sway and dominion, not in essentials but 
in little things. Colonel Trevylian had 
been too long master at Brackenlea, for 
his notable sister-in-law to have assumed 
anything like interference in those matters 
which belong to the male jurisdiction ; but 



king's baynard. 311 

her feminine rale had been positive and 
undisputed, and the "heiress of theTrevy- 
lians" queen paramount on the soil of 
her ancestors, had submitted with child-like 
obedience to the excellent woman who had 
ever, on her part, treated her with a 
mother's love. 

" Must you go to-day, Mary ?" she 
asked doubtingly, and thinking in her own 
mind of those fine muslins and laces 
belonging to Miss Trevylian, which were 
being got up, with much care, under the 
superintendence of the old lady herself. 
" Bless me ! If I could only have had a 
few hours notice, I could have sent you off 
in more creditable fashion. But in a case 
of illness, all other considerations must 
be waived. You will take Martha, of 
course." 

"Of course, Auntie; she will be of the 
greatest use. Martha is invaluable in a 
case of illness. I will send her to you, 



312 KING S BAYNA'RD. 

and if you will tell her what to put up, I 
will be ready and the carriage will be 
round in an hour." 

"You said that just like your poor 
father, Mary, he never thought the limits 
of possibility in the waiting line, could 
exceed ' an hour ;' he used to say he 
never wished for more to prepare for any 
of the contingencies attending either life 
or death." 

" Uncle Gilbert was his favourite uncle," 
repeated Mary, almost mechanically ; and 
it was this circumstance that had endeared 
the almost unknown great-uncle to his 
niece's imagination. His great trouble 
had fallen upon him before she was born ; 
and the very sight of her fair young face, 
radiant in the health and beauty that had 
once proved such a snare to his own 
darling child, had been at times more than 
the old man could bear. 

" Do not spoil her, George," he would 



king's eaynaed. 313 

say to his nephew, the Colonel ; " it will 
go hard with her if you do, poor child." 
It had been in this case an unnecessary 
caution. Indulged, petted, caressed, Mary 
Trevylian had been from her cradle ; but 
spoilt — never. She had learnt the lesson 
early, which to a high-spirited woman 
comes so hard in after life, to be subser- 
vient to a stronger will. 

Colonel Trevylian, every inch a soldier, 
had ever been master in his own family, 
and in consequence he had been not only 
loved, but revered by every member of it. 
Since she had lost the support of her 
strong right hand, Mary's character had 
strengthened and deepened; and in the 
exercise of her own will she was gradually 
feeling her way. Power came to her, 
when she was mature enough to feel its 
responsibility, and she took it fearfully 
and with trembling, lest she should abuse 
the gift. It was sweet to her sometimes 



314 king's baynard. 

to say, " may I do sucli and such a thing, 
Auntie," as of old ; and yet a prouder, or 
more independent spirit never fired the 
heart of any Trevylian, than burnt in the 
breast of their youthful heiress. 

In "an hour," the well appointed 
travelling carriage was at the door; 
and Miss Trevylian and her maid were 
receiving the last instructions from the 
lips of Aunt Dorothy, whose mind, having 
by this time absorbed the fact of Uncle 
Gilbert's illness, now ran fluently in the 
direction of strengthening jellies, and 
other invaluable and infallible recipes, 
heirlooms in the Trevylian family, from 
generation to generation. 

"And take care of yourself, my own 
precious child," was the old lady's last 
injunction, " I shall be sorely dull without 
you, my May-blossom, but we must not 
always think of ourselves." 

Her own eyes wet with the tears which 



king's bayxard. 315 

the sight of her Aunt's had not failed to 
summon into them, Mary Trevylian and 
her faithful handmaid, Martha, set forth 
on their journey of twenty miles, to ren- 
der sweet womanly offices at the bedside 
of sickness and age. 

It was late in the winter's afternoon 
when they arrived at the Rectory, to 
which it was the first visit of the great- 
niece of the Rector of King's Baynard, 
strange as it may appear, separated as it 
was by a distance of only twenty miles. 

" I am too old to have young things 
about me," argued the Rector to himself, 
whenever the thought of the expediency 
and the kindness of having his niece and 
her good Aunt Dorothy to stay with 
him, had suggested itself to his once hos- 

7 Co 

pit able imagination. But since the arrival 
of the heir at the home of his an- 
cestors, the idea of the beautiful girl who 
was heiress in esse of the inheritance of 



316 king's baynaed. 

the fighting Trevylians, and heiress in 
posse of all that he himself had to leave, 
had presented itself with something like 
persistency, to the mind of the aged man. 
An early attachment to a worthy object 
would be the making and the saving of 
this last of the Baynard stock. This 
noble youth was to redeem the tarnished 
glory of his house; the " dear lad" who 
had wound himself so closely round the 
old man's heart, would by such a course 
be kept straight if under the legitimate 
influence of the beauty which, as he had 
justly observed, had ever been a snare to 
his race. He had heard that his niece's 
beauty had fulfilled the promise of its 
spring ; and he knew also that her accom- 
plishments, and her warm generous temper 
were eulogized by all who had been happy 
enough to have felt their influence. 

These circnmstances had made him 
decide upon inviting Mary Trevylian to 



king's baynard. 317 

his home, before the event of his sudden 
illness had taken place, as recorded above, 
and it is not improbable that the contend- 
ing emotions which accompanied the de- 
cision, had hastened the attack which had 
so alarmed his friends on his account. 
The effort it would have cost him to make 
such a break in the monotonous course of 
his life, had he continued in his usual 
health, would have been very severe ; but 
under the spell of the change which his 
illness had wrought upon his mind, he 
looked forward with a gentle kind of im- 
patience to the arrival of his expected 
guest. 

I must be candid enough to acknow- 
ledge that notwithstanding the ties of 
blood which united him to this lovely 
girl, that it was the interests of "young 
John," whom he called his adopted son, 
that he had most at heart in the matter. 
He only thought of her as a means to an 



318 king's baynapj). 

end — an end which he now prayed daily 
that he might be blessed enough to see 
accomplished before death came to release 
him from the cares and anxieties, which 
had been his portion of late years in this 
care-full and troublesome world. 

That end, as the reader is already 
aware, was to have some tangible sign 
and token of the removal of the curse, 
which had so long blighted the fortunes of 
the Baynards, and to see a worthy heir 
spring from the ashes of the once noble, 
but now degenerate, stock. 

Long before the close of the short 
winter evening, long before his niece 
could, with the greatest despatch, have 
obeyed his summons, Mr. Trevylian has 
been straining his feeble eyes to catch 
a glimpse of the carriage in a turn of 
the road, which was distinctly visible from 
his bed as he lay, and which, with due 
vigilance on the part of the watcher, 



king's baynaed. 319 

nothing could pass without his becoming 
cognizant of the fact. The silver hand- 
bell which stood at his right hand was 
rung often er in that single afternoon, than 
it had been rung throughout the illness of 
the generally patient invalid. 

" Are you sure the fires burn brightly 
down stairs, Meredith ? Is everything 
prepared in Miss Trevylian's room ? She 
is accustomed to every luxury at home. 
Does Thomas understand that the horses 
are to be put up here ? Wheel the arm- 
chair to the bedside, and place the footstool 
before it." 

With each silvery tingle, came some 
order, or injunction, on the part of " the 
master," and to each and every one did 
the faithful servant give her best and most 
particular attention ; but for a good hour, 
after all had been thought of for the due 
honour and welcome of the coming guest, 
Mrs. Meredith and " the master," also, 



320 king's baynard. 

found that there was nothing more to be 
done but patiently and hopefully to resign 
themselves to wait. 

As a matter of course, exactly at that 
period when waiting had become a habit, 
and expectancy of the thing waited for 
had died into a feeble flame, both the 
watchers were betrayed at the same mo- 
ment by the sound of approaching car- 
riage wheels, into the exclamation, " Here 
they are at last." 

" Go down, Meredith, go down," said 
Mr. Trevylian, as the old housekeeper 
glanced anxiously at his flushed face, 
which contrasted strangely with the soft 
white hair, disordered by the restless 
movements of the head of the old man, 
and resembling the fleecy clouds that flit 
across the summer sky. " Go down and 
let her in — I should like to see her at once 
— remember — at once /" 

With the soft indescribable rustle of an 



king's baynabd. 321 

arrival of which the element is purely 
feminine, the fair young stranger entered 
the Rectory Hall, and taking the old 
housekeeper's two hands in her own, she 
asked eagerly, but in the subdued tones 
naturally assumed within possible earshot 
of a sick brain, " Tell me, how is my 
Uncle ? may I go up to him at once ?" 

The " at once," of the young girl seemed 
to Mrs. Meredith but as an echo of the 
"at once," with which her master had 
speeded her on her errand, to welcome 
the orphaned heiress to his roof; and 
after conveying to her her Uncle's affec- 
tionate greeting, she added, " He'll be 
very pleased, Ma'am, if you will step up 
and see him now." 

" Will he ? oh, how kind of him ! why 
did he not send for me before ?" added 
Mary Trevylian impulsively, for she felt 
her heart yearn towards this "last of her 
clan" on her father's side of the house. 

VOL I. Y 



322 king's baynard. 

She did not realise to herself how wide 
apart they had been as far as intercourse 
went. It was the spirit of that one word 
" Come," traced in his own feeble charac- 
ters, that had struck into a flame the 
warm spark of her affectionate heart. 

"I am come, dear Uncle, you see at 
once," she said, advancing to his bedside 
with the eager confidence and candour of 
early youth, and the next moment she felt 
the feeble arms encircle her, while with a 
voice broken with sobs, her Uncle Gilbert 
said but one word — the name of his lost 
daughter — Mabel ! 



END OF THE FIRST VOLUME. 



LONDON': PRINTED BY A SCDULZE, POLAND STREET.